To Combat My Phone Addiction, I Deleted Social Media

It’s no secret that we live in a highly digital age. With numerous amounts of social media platforms that can reach people all over the world, we’re more connected than ever. However, this doesn’t come without its risks. Being addicted to social media, and even smartphones, in general, is a real thing. I heard stories about people who felt like they couldn’t go more than an hour without checking notifications and updates, but I could never see myself as being one of those people. So, I put myself to the test: would I be able to go five days without using any social media? In short, the answer was yes. However, this “challenge” did prove to be harder than I imagined it would be. 

I know myself well enough to know that, while I try to pride myself on having a good sense of self-control, the only way I could go any period of time without checking my social media accounts were if they weren’t available to me. So, I had to manually delete Instagram, Twitter, SnapChat, and Facebook from my phone. Out of sight out of mind, right? Unfortunately for me, it wasn’t this simple. Over the course of the five days, I couldn’t even keep track of how many times my fingers went to click on apps that were no longer there. Every morning, during my walks to and from classes and pretty much any downtime I had, I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I found myself literally twiddling my thumbs because I didn’t know what else to do with them.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay on Pexels

Preparing to write this article couldn’t have come at a better time than it did. I was in the middle of my busiest semester of college thus far, and with the large amounts of assignments and obligations, I needed the social media break. My time was better spent making sure I was getting all of my work done while also taking care of myself instead of constantly refreshing pages waiting to see what all my other friends were up to. I had to remind myself that the pictures, Tweets, and other posts would all still be there when I returned to the platforms. Through this exercise, I realized how much more productive I was if I didn’t have numerous notifications to distract me. I couldn’t try to convince myself that I would get started after five more minutes of scrolling. 

One thing that I wasn’t prepared for was how much I felt like I was missing out on while being absent from social media. How was I supposed to know about my friends’ struggles if I couldn’t check their finstas or their private Snapchat stories? What if something terrible happened within my extended family and they only posted about it on Facebook? What would I do with my witty thoughts if I couldn’t tweet them in the middle of the night? Of course, there were reasonable solutions to each of these questions. Something that I had to remind myself of is that if someone had something truly important for me to know, they would come to me directly with it. While social media is a great tool that can be used to make a wider audience aware of a certain event or how a person is feeling in the moment, it’s not the only viable option.

Photo courtesy of George Pagan III on Unsplash

I won’t pretend that getting rid of social media for five days dramatically changed my life in one way or another. I also won’t pretend that I didn’t automatically fall back into my old habits of constantly checking for new posts or using social media to distract myself from more pressing manners the second I allowed myself to reinstall the apps. However, I did learn that I can go longer than I give myself credit for without worrying about what everyone else in the world is up to.