Logging Off Social Media During the Pandemic is a MUST

Coronavirus! Quarantine! COVID-19! Social distancing! Global pandemic!

Over the last few months, and especially over the past few weeks, these have been the only words on everyone’s minds. And now, with the cancellation of in-person classes and encouragement of social distancing, the media has made the news of this infamous respiratory virus inescapable. I know I myself am guilty of having fallen down the rabbit hole of social media trying to learn as much as I could about the pandemic. But after some thought, I have decided that getting sucked into the Internet might be one of the worst things we can do at a time like this.

I don’t mean to say that we shouldn’t be informed about the progress and facts surrounding the virus, because being knowledgeable about the situation at hand is incredibly important! However, I wholeheartedly believe that some good can come from logging off social media, and here I have compiled some reasons why:

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1.) Steer Clear of Fear

The world is in an overwhelming state of anxiety, as none of us have ever experienced a global pandemic. As a result, people continue to get sucked into the internet both to search for clarifying information and to overshare their own fears. I’m not much of a Facebook user, but I recently logged on to see how my family members were handling everything. The result: a feed of endless panic about the “apocalypse”. Obviously some concern is important, because that means people are taking the virus seriously. But we need to remember to take some deep breaths and realize that a majority of what’s happening is out of our control, so if we stop reading up on everyone else’s needless panicking, we can be more at peace with this confusing time.

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2.) Get Rid of “Fake News”

Going off of the fact that literally no one understands exactly what a pandemic even means for us, those who feel compelled to be the smartest person in the room will still feel the need to put in their two cents of their vast knowledge of global respiratory viruses. Very little of the information that we are seeing is legitimate and fact checked. But because of the way social media works, false information can get spread faster than the truth. In a matter of hours, false statistics proving the virus to be “less harmful than the common cold” can be trending on Twitter and shared on every Instagram story. If and when you seek out information about the Coronavirus, make sure that you are only using reliable sources, such as legit news sites or reports from actual medical professionals. Your neighbor Brad who works at Home Depot may not be the best resource.

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3.) Don’t Feed Into FOMO!

For those who have been living under a rock, the idea behind “social distancing” is that by staying home and limiting personal contact, we can slow the spread of the virus and not overwhelm the health system as seen in Italy. Of course, as we all have seen on Instagram, some people simply choose to believe that the Coronavirus can’t ruin their good time and choose to book their cheap beach vacations anyways. I don’t have the time to get into lecturing those ignorant kids right now, but seeing your peers on inevitably incites some level of FOMO, especially for those of us following the rules and staying inside. There is a simple solution, just log off! If you don’t see people you know out and about having fun, then it can’t affect you. Staying inside is absolutely the right thing to do, so don’t make the right thing more difficult for yourself.

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4.) Take Time to be Human

Limiting your time spent on the Internet is healthy regardless of whether or not our nation is in a state of emergency. While being granted an abundance of free time makes it easy to let your data usage go on the fritz, this could also be an opportunity to fill that extra time at home being a member of the world. Learn how to cook! Set a daily schedule for exercising! Read books for pleasure instead of just for school! Pick up some crafting skills! Follow a Bob Ross tutorial! Talk with your family members! Take your dogs for a walk! Make intentional contact with friends! The next few months are a golden opportunity for some real self discovery. Social distancing is already clearing up physical pollution, so why not let it clean up our minds so we can enjoy life more organically!

Now that you’ve read this, consider shutting off your phone or computer and finding something else to do with your time. Oh, and wash your hands!