A social media detox for your brain, those stories can wait

Some people may think that living without Snapchat or Instagram is impossible, but for me, it is possible.

Mien Le, Columnist

My assignment for media studies class was about “digital detox”—a process requiring eight hours living without social media. Due to this project, I realized we are too dependent on social media. Honestly, most of us may feel anxious without it.

Living without social media is never easy. It becomes a necessary part of life for young people in this modern world.

During my detox, I paid attention to the fact that people around me could not stop focusing on their Snapchat or Instagram. If they have any break time, they will open the phone, click on Instagram’s story to see how their friends’ days are going.

“It’s so boring without Snapchat. I miss my phone and feel like I was missing out,” first-year Asha Abukar said.

I saw that communication between students becomes limited because of overusing social media. Which person would you prefer to talk to: a person who is interacting with others or a person who is concentrating on their Instagram?

I cannot deny that using social media is a good way for us to keep in touch with the outside world. But being too dependent on it makes us more anxious. When I experienced eight hours of living without social media, I realized that I could not stop thinking about Instagram. I asked myself several questions: “How are my friends today?” “What are they doing?” “Will they participate in any party or cool event without me?”

These questions made me crazy. I was so nervous just because I did not use social media to stay updated on the campus news.

Moreover, it seems that most young people today base their love of themselves on how people respond to their pictures on Instagram. They compare their values with the “likes” they receive on Facebook. Therefore, it makes them become more and more nervous when the amount of “likes” for their photos doesn’t increase after several hours.

Being too dependent on social media makes us sad when we are not able to be “online” all the time. The typical example is me. Because I stopped using social media, I was also afraid that my friends would hang out and have a party. I also felt sad when I thought that people would not enjoy the photos on Instagram just because I did not use it for eight hours. “Will people forget me?” That question made me have the tendency to feel lonely.

However, I changed my mind. Instead of focusing on Instagram, I found myself being able to do other things more productively. Although they were stuff that I did every day, like doing homework or washing clothes, the time I spent for them became shorter.

I also decided to hang out. I met my friends by chance, and we talked for a long time. I paid attention that we talked more without checking notifications from social media. Our conversations were more interesting and undistracted. Furthermore, I had more time to enjoy the outside world.

“Rather than looking at something meaningless on a screen while unconcernedly listening to others, we actually talked like people did in the 19th century.” Chinese exchange student Jing Xu said. “It made us closer to each other.”

I was not anxious about what would happen on social media anymore. I did not care about Snapchat or Instagram. I focused on taking care of myself instead of watching a story and pressing the “Like” button. I didn’t feel lonely because I interacted face-to-face with others more.

It is not hard to live without Instagram, Snapchat, or social media in general. However, it doesn’t mean I advise you to give up social media.

Like I said above, it is a necessary part of modern life. But we can reduce the amount of time using it. You can challenge yourself by not using Snapchat for one hour first, and after that it may increase to two hours. Believe me, it not only helps us to not be too dependent on social media, but it also helps us to save time and work more productively. In addition, it may help you to sleep well and reduce stress.

“Students should let their brain work effectively by memorizing, organizing, and communicating without social media’s help. It is the best way to detox and reduce the control of social media,” Dr. Endalk Chala a professor of Media studies said.

Let yourself do the detox of your mind from social media. You won’t regret it.