My Toxic Relationship With Social Media

Throughout the last few years, I’ve become increasingly aware of the negative effects social media has on my health. Although I’m grateful to be coming to this realization, it’s extremely difficult figuring out how to navigate your online presence in a world that strongly emphasizes social media and technology.

I’ve noticed major differences in the quality of life as well as my mental health that correlates with my social media use. I’m pretty good at separating between online and real-life and recognizing that people only post their highlights. However, my biggest struggle is constantly being connected to people, some of which I don’t even talk to anymore or have a personal relationship with. I enjoy keeping up with my friends and family, and that’s about it. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but the reality is I don’t care what that random kid who I never talked to from my high school is up to now. I don’t feel the need to see everybody’s personal views and life story on social media, and frankly, I don’t want to unless I’ve established a close relationship with the person. Being exposed to so much technology from a young age has led me to underestimate how large a problem this is and how much it has impacted my life. It shouldn’t feel like such a big deal to get rid of social media, but because it has become so emphasized in our culture and way of life, it does feel like some sort of loss. Silhouette of two people Photo by Tori Wise from Unsplash

Another thing I’ve come to learn is how social media majorly impacts productivity. There have been days where I’ve sat on the couch for hours at a time looking at my phone. I’ll admit that some of this is due to a lack of self-control, but regardless, most if not all social media apps are intentionally designed to keep you engaged for as long as possible. If you know anything about big tech, you know that they are making money off of your attention, but that is a bigger conversation for another day. Time is something you can never get back once it’s gone, and I’m no longer willing to make the tradeoff of my time for social media usage.

I would have deleted all of my social media accounts for good a long time ago if there weren’t other factors involved. Many of the clubs and organizations I am a part of emphasize their social media presence, and it can be hard to feel involved and included without participating in the digital side. In general, without social media, it can be hard to stay in the loop and keep up with everything that’s going on. It’s taken me a long time to fully accept and understand that despite all this, for me personally, the best decision is to fully remove or at least strictly limit my social media presence. I’m sure there are other people out there who are also struggling with this new age of media, so I recommend being honest with yourself and evaluating the pros and cons of your online presence.