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Wellness > Health

Why You Should Try Quitting Social Media (At Least for a Week)

The first time that I created a social media profile was in middle school. I wanted to connect with friends (and possibly find new ones), understand the newest trends and inside jokes, and participate in what seemed like a powerful movement. Everyone was using social media constantly, so why couldn’t I?

In gaining a new, shiny form of technology, I didn’t think about what I could possibly lose. I remember spending hours endlessly scrolling my feed, glancing at photos and videos from friends and brands who I chose to follow, and watching the lives of celebrities who would never know of my existence. Though I had been an avid reader during most of my childhood, I started to read less books. During activities with my family, I had begun to be less present. I had even started to feel physical effects, with my eyesight worsening after spending hours staring at screens and staying indoors. 

Who are we as a society if we invest most of our time and energy into virtual spaces and digitized versions of ourselves?

Don’t get me wrong — social media can be a great unifier and vehicle for change. There have been huge social movements that started on Twitter, hashtags that caused shifts in entire industries, and pages that center the voices of the underrepresented. Social media has unequivocally changed the ways in which we mobilize, but also the ways in which we see the world and ourselves. Our generation has watched as social media evolved from a tool to bring people together to a product that pushes ads and a pit of mindless content. As a collective, our attention spans have become miniscule. During in-person events, such as concerts, we see the flashlights of millions of phones overshadowing the faces of attendees. Social media takes up as much (if not more) space as people do in physical spaces. 

These days, health and wellness have become buzzwords that companies use to push new products. Hundreds of ads on social media promote “new” and “inventive” ways to improve our bodies and minds. I would argue that quitting social media, or using it in extreme moderation, is one of the best ways to improve one’s health. There are countless articles and research studies that strongly suggest social media has multiple detrimental effects, citing an undeniable link between social media and increases in depression, anxiety, and body-image concerns.

In 2024, it feels almost impossible to function without social media. How would people connect with long-distance friends without it? Or find online communities to join and discuss shared interests? 

During the month of March, I made it my mission to quit social media entirely for a week. After deactivating my accounts and deleting apps off of my phone, I started my journey to regain my attention span. In full honesty — it wasn’t easy. At the start, I was convinced I would miss out on something major, perhaps a new viral meme that would become an inside joke for everyone but me. I worried about not being able to see what old friends and acquaintances had been up to. Embarrassingly, I often visited the Apple Store and hovered over the redownload symbol. Despite the difficult start, quitting was one of the best decisions I could make. I slept better. I became more energized during the day, generally less anxious and stressed, and considerably more patient. Quitting social media (at least for a week) is a great way of regaining focus and lessening dependence on apps — especially as finals season creeps up on us. 

The time that we lose scrolling is time that we’ll never get back. If you find yourself becoming too chronically online, try quitting. And in the words of my favorite internet meme — go touch some grass.

Tess Abraham

Columbia Barnard '25

Tess is a sociology student at Barnard College of Columbia University in New York City. She loves finding niche playlists on Spotify, watching teen dramas from the 90s/00s, pretending she’s in a neo soul music video, and theater. A native New Yorker, Tess loves arguing about which borough is the best (the Bronx—it’s the Bronx).