The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
About three weeks ago in my English class, we started a unit about the long-term effects of social media. This required me to do lots of research on the impact social media has had on teens and young adults. This research revealed that those who frequently use social media experienced higher levels of depression as well as feelings of loneliness and anxiety.
This experience made me think of all the time I spend on different social media platforms. I use Instagram and Snapchat a couple of times a day, checking in on family and friends from high school I don’t get to see often. I don’t use Facebook or Twitter, mostly because the platforms feel very similar to the ones I already use. When I first began college, I also had Yik-Yak. This app allows people to post things anonymously so that others within about a five-mile radius can also see it. As you can imagine, this invited people to post whatever they wanted, mostly negative, without consequences. I deleted the app after about a month and have definitely not regretted it.
Although I would say I don’t spend a great deal of time on the platforms listed above, I did have a pretty strong obsession with Tik-Tok. I was spending all my free time scrolling through the app. This meant when I woke up in the morning, any of my free time during the day, and before I went to bed. This cumulated to hours of my time. I knew that this was unhealthy but continued to do it anyway.
It wasn’t until very recently that I began to see the effects of this lifestyle. I was tired all the time because I was getting less sleep and procrastinating on all my homework. This led to me being less happy as well as less present when hanging out with friends and family. So, when I learned that these symptoms came from my social media obsession, I decided to delete Tik-Tok entirely.
At first, I questioned just limiting my time on the app. This meant only using it for about an hour each day, but that hour quickly turned into two or three. Around this same time, my For You Page also began to change. What used to be funny videos became “A Day in My Life” or “What I East in a Day” videos. Seeing these people accomplish so much in a day, like going to the gym, eating healthy, attending class, and doing homework, made me feel bad about myself. It felt like I was accomplishing nothing and constantly comparing myself to these girls on my phone. This was also very unhealthy for my mental health, as I felt I could never compare to these “perfect” influencers. This was I realized the best option for me was just to remove the app from my phone.
I have gained so much more time in my day to get things done and have gotten better sleep each night. I also have felt more present when interacting with others and spend less time on my phone altogether. This left time for other things I enjoy, including playing sports, reading and watching movies or television. It has also helped me get my homework done faster, which decreased my levels of stress. I have felt all-around happier. Not comparing myself to others through what I see on their social media has greatly increased my self-confidence. If you are considering deleting social media, I highly recommend trying it out for yourself and seeing the benefits it can have on your mental health as well as everyday life.