With the revolution of social media and advancements in technology, it is easier to connect with people globally, but is it disconnecting us socially? In this article, I want to discuss how social media is negatively impacting our generation, and why it is crucial to step away from the digital world from time to time. It is ironic how social media allows us to be more connected than ever, but many of us feel more disconnected and isolated, as well. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, the lifetime prevalence of any mental disorder among adolescents is 49.5%. Social media platforms are more popular and used by adolescents. In addition, JAMA Psychiatry, a peer-reviewed journal, found that adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media “may be at heightened risk of mental health problems, particularly internalizing problems.” The generation that grew up with devices and technology (18-24-year-olds) are four times more likely to feel lonely than those over the age of 70.
The reason why I stopped constantly being on social media is because it took me away from reality. I see people living picture-perfect lives on Facebook, Snapchat, or Instagram and would feel so bad about myself. Our generation obsesses over the number of likes and popularity our social media pages receive when, in reality, it does not even matter. We care about insignificant matters, such as likes, which distract us from serious issues happening in our world. Social media has made our generation very self-obsessed and materialistic, and we prioritize these insignificant matters first. In addition, social media can be like a competition of who has the best life, best clothes, best appearance, and so on. People lead a different persona on the internet to gain the most popularity and a higher social status. I realized that social media is a facade, and most people who try their best to maintain this picture-perfect image are actually the the saddest. It is detrimental to our mental health to try to be “perfect” (whatever that means) because real life is not perfect. We are not perfect. We are all human and have to accept that we all have flaws, and it is okay not to be perfect.
I do not use social media as much as I used to because I realized how it distorted my perception of real life and how much time it would take out of my day. I casually browse: but know to limit myself, or else I will be trapped into the social media black hole for hours. However, I LOVE TIK TOK! Because it isn’t people trying to portray a perfect life. TikTok is so relatable and non-judgmental and is just an app where you can be yourself and have fun. It reminds me of Vine, a similar concept, where people upload funny, quick clips that I could scroll through for hours! I am so glad they revived this app because it honestly makes my day to see cute puppies, relatable posts, and funny memes. However, it is crucial to power down our phones and experience real life, which is better than being stuck in this digital world where we can’t distinguish reality or lies. One thing I love to do is go hiking, and in my opinion, nothing is better than reaching the top of that mountain and admiring the view. It is rewarding and beautiful to see the view from the top in real life, and it cannot compare to a photo. Some other activities I enjoy doing are: going to the mall with my friends, meditating, watching a movie, or baking cookies. The point is to find an activity or hobby that can take you away from social media so you can go out and have fun. Life is too short to sit around comparing our lives to what we see on other people’s feeds. Be you, do what you love, and remember that not everything you see on social media is real!
“It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.”
“Social Media and Mental Health: Depression and Psychological Effects.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/social-media-and-mental-health#negative-effects.