Take Breaks from Social Media

I want to talk to you about your phones, more specifically what is on your phones. One issue that we all face today is being on our phones for hours. Statistics show that college students spend an average of seven hours on their phones. That’s almost a third of our day. While some may use their phones for work or talking to people, a lot of us may be using our phones for endless scrolling through social media apps like Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter.

I'm confident in saying that a lot of us have been in this situation before. You get home or back to your dorm after class and you want to go do something. Like going to get food, going to the gym, or doing some work. But you’re exhausted from class, and you want to just chill on your phone for a little bit. So, you go on social media to see what’s going on, and the next thing you know it's been an hour or two since you sat down. And now you must cram in what you need to do for the rest of your day.

Being on social media too much has negative impacts on our daily lives. It has negative impacts on our mental health, it messes up our time management, and it becomes a distraction. And for these reasons, I urge you to start incorporating social media breaks and start putting time limits on your social media apps.

And while some may say that social media is beneficial for connecting with friends, sharing our interests, and being a source of entertainment when we are bored, it is also important to note that it is possible to use social media in a healthy and balanced way, where we can reap the benefits while minimizing the risks. Now let's address those risks.

Research has shown that too much social media has negative impacts on mental health, especially for younger people. Spending too much time on social media can lead to feelings of anxiety, depression, and loneliness. Some of the reasons this happens is because of cyberbullying, where people can be mean because they are hiding behind a screen.

It creates an addiction because of the small dopamine boosts we gain from it, and as soon as we are away from it for too long, our dopamine levels decrease, and we feel the need to pick it up again. It also creates “FOMO” (fear of missing out). This creates feelings of anxiety because people feel the need to stay connected to social media, so they do not miss out on anything happening.

Another negative impact social media has is that it can be time-consuming. As college students, we need to be mindful of how we spend our time, especially with already busy schedules that include classes, studying, and extracurriculars. As I said earlier, a college student is on their phone for an average of seven hours, with most of our time being on social media, and we are taking away from other activities we could be doing.

One more thing we need to take into consideration about social media is the distraction that it becomes. How many times have you been to a concert or a sporting event and all you see is people with their phones in the air filming. People end up doing activities for the sake of having the memory on their phones and posting it online rather than actually living in the moment and enjoying it.

It also creates shorter attention spans. Social media is short form content where you can scroll for an hour and see over 100 pieces of content, along with the constant stream of notifications of likes, comments, and messages. This leads to the user's attention span becoming worse and creates an inability to focus for long periods of time.

So, after considering all the effects of excessive social media usage, it is evident that being on social media too much will take a toll on you and leave you with everlasting negative effects. I'm not saying that we should delete the apps off our phones and toss them in trash. I just want to encourage you to go in your settings and take a look at how much time you spend on social media.

If it takes up a majority of your phone usage, try considering a social media break where you try to go a couple of days without using the apps and replace them with other activities. If not, try putting a limit on those apps so you can still be on them but not to the point where hours fly by without you noticing. And remember, the goal is to reap the benefits, while minimizing the risks.