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How Mindless Scrolling on Instagram Ruined My Life

I’m not over exaggerating when I say that social media has distorted my self-perception and ideas of self-worth. I think social media in general has its detrimental impacts on people’s mentality and wellbeing. We consume it daily. It doesn’t surprise me anymore when I see people pull out their phone almost every 3 seconds on the subway, Snapchatting at the dinner table, or text other people while they’re hanging out with people. Don’t get me wrong, we live in this technological generation, and I get the benefits of social media and online connectivity. It has definetely allowed me to express myself artistically and pursue my passions.

However, I’m nineteen years old. How long am I supposed to keep this social media obsession up for? “Obsession” is an overstatement, but like many people my age, I find myself constantly in a loop of “check Instagram this, Snapchat that, Facebook this, etc” and I feel guilty about it.

I find myself scrolling through memes, Golden Retriever dog videos, fashion blogs, food accounts, satisfying videos, and on a deep deep deep spiral of searching all of these people I knew from middle school that I have never stayed in touch with and finding out they’re pregnant or have ten different facial piercings. The amount of time I have wasted staring at my blue screen has been enough. How are our future generations going to cope? Babies are basically born grasping screens with their hands.

Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Reporter

Recently, I watched a Netflix documentary called Social Animals. The premise of it was how Instagram affected these three specific people: an Insta famous princess, a risk taking photographer, and the average Ohio country girl. All consuming the same “stuff,” but with very different lives.

It was really scary, to be quite honest.

It made me realize just how much we all get invested in this “life” we create for ourselves. I have been blogging for about five years, Instagramming for about seven, editing and directing social media for a campus blog, and also creating content and “aesthetic” photographs. So, it’s sufficient to say that I’m invested, too.

Sometimes I wish I wasn’t. Sometimes I wish I just didn’t care about who posted what or where this photo was taken or who is in the photo or what clothes they’re wearing. Sometimes I wish our society wasn’t so attached to believing that their self worth depends on validation from people they don’t even know or talk to. I wish I could talk to more people without mentioning something on the internet.

For once, it would just be amazing if Instagram, or the internet, would just shut down and people could actually look up for a bit. We all know that the world would implode if it did. I will be working in an industry one day that depends on it, and this isn’t hating on the interwebs, but as a young person who will be exposed to so much more technology in the coming years, when does it hit a breaking point?

Photo Courtesy of Society19

Instagram will only control our youth, paving the standards and what is socially acceptable or not. Having these types of discussions and reality checks are crucial because the internet 1) is important and 2) is dangerous. My Instagram got hacked, I lost 700 followers, and it really made me panic. I created a new account, got 300 followers, but a lot of my recognition was lost. My photos—unnoticed. Did I care? To a degree, yes, but I also felt this sudden release of weight. Like I had just moved out into the country, on a serene farm, wind blowing through my hair. No one to see me, no one to care. I wasn’t worrying about what to post, how many likes got what, or how many followers I had. Having no Instagram felt amazing and I lived without it for a couple months, until people got concerned I fell off the Earth. 

I still continue to create what I think is very “aesthetic” looking photos, but I do it for me and only me. My own self-worth and validation comes from this freedom. Knowing that I put in this work, sharing it with people I actually know and talk to, and worrying less about who gives a f*ck?

I’m not your mom. You know the effects of social media in your life. So, how are you going to change them?
Natalie is currently a junior studying Public Relations and Advertising with a minor in Spanish and Event Planning. She is an avid beauty, interiors, and lifestyle enthusiast. When she's not doing yoga or obsessing over her golden retriever pup, you'll find her writing in the SAC, library, at the Stu, and basically, anywhere she can get good wifi connection at DePaul.
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