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Mental Health

I Tried the Social Media Challenge and Here’s How it Went

I didn’t always have a negative relationship with social media.

When I was first introduced to this online world, I found it fascinating to have the ability to instantly connect with anyone at the touch of my fingertips. But, as I spent more and more time online, I grew to resent it. What used to be a simple way for me to share my life turned into an endless trap of comparing myself to others. 

After noticing the negative impact social media was beginning to have on me, cutting my screen time down became a major goal of mine over these last couple of years. It’s definitely easier said than done, but after several failed attempts, I managed to accomplish this seemingly impossible feat when I undertook the “social media challenge.”

As a part of an assignment for my TAM class―The Meaning of Technology―we were required to completely quit social media for three weeks where our success was tracked by submitting our screen time every week. The challenge itself was a big ask, and because of this, my professor wasn’t expecting us to completely quit social media but rather make an effort to. Knowing it was too difficult for my current phone habits, I tweaked the challenge and made it a goal to quit Twitter and Pinterest and limit my screen time to an hour a day.

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As expected, the challenge lived up to its name. Barely a day into it, I started to feel anxious and frustrated because I had trouble resisting the temptation to check my phone with every new notification. I also began feeling a serious wave of FOMO coming on and felt like my absence on social media was preventing me from staying updated on everything.  

Luckily these feelings started to subside as the challenge went further on, but I experienced the most difficulty when it came to keeping my social media use to under an hour every day. Setting the hour limit in my phone settings helped somewhat, but I eventually started to ignore the lock on my apps and noticed that I would reach my limit before noon each day. It wasn’t until the second and third week of the challenge where I got in the habit of using my phone less and started seeing the positive results of the challenge.

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Some of these results included feeling more “present” while I was out with my family and friends. I found myself feeling less distracted by my phone and focusing more on the time I spent with my family and friends because I was able to set my phone aside.  

Using my phone less also made it easier for me to get my homework done more quickly because I was less distracted by my phone. Because of this, I had more free time by the end of my day and was able to have extra time to play the piano, journal, watch T.V, and read. 

However, the biggest result I saw by far was my mood improvement. My mood felt a lot better by the end of every day because I wasn’t constantly spending time online comparing myself to others. 

[bf_image id="qe930p-d0xikg-bj3laq"] While I never achieved my original goal of limiting my daily screen time to an hour, I considered the challenge a success because it helped me control my social media use. The challenge led me to realize that there was no need for me to check social media as often as I did because all the posts on my feed would still be there at the end of the day no matter what. I also learned that it is possible to have a healthy relationship with social media as long as I consume it moderately.

The challenge itself only lasted three weeks, but I made an effort to continue it beyond the class and it’s been life-changing. I highly recommend giving this challenge a try even if social media hasn’t negatively impacted you because it’s super beneficial to take a break from social media every now and then.

[bf_image id="q4zjk7-f5af7s-7qh3py"] Hope you give this challenge a try!

 

 

Jessica Nguyen

CU Boulder '21

Jessica is currently a senior at the Leeds School of Business and is majoring in Marketing with a certificate in Creative Technology and Design. She is a big lover of all things art and music, and when she’s not in class or hitting the books, you’ll most likely find her petting other people’s dogs, making a baking disaster in the kitchen, or daydreaming about Paris.
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