Life is bigger than a phone screen

Why everyone should Press reset on their social media habits

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Life is bigger than a phone screen

Ruby Cervantes, Staff Member

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I don’t think there has been a single time in my life, from fourth grade up until a month ago, when I wasn’t completely obsessed with my portrayal on social media. I needed the most followers, the most likes, the most comments, the best pictures. It was a constant mission to keep myself near the top. 

My self-worth was completely and totally dependent on what other people thought of me. I did anything and everything to make people think I was doing better, feeling better, looking better than I actually was. Social media was where I placed every ounce of my security.

The idea that my life could be better without social media was absolutely ludicrous to me. I could never have imagined my life not knowing where people were, what they were doing, how they were doing. I needed to be in the loop at all times, not to mention I needed to fill everyone else in on what I was doing (not that anyone ever really cared). To me, it was never something I really wanted to give up, and I was dependent on it. 

Deleting social media for me was something I wish I had done months ago. The insane relief that I felt after I wasn’t constantly worried about everyone and everything else was refreshing. Although taking the actual action of unplugging was difficult, the end result gave me more happiness and freedom than I ever thought I’d get. 

According to a survey done by the Pew Research Center, 45% of U.S teens say they use the internet “almost constantly.” In fact, according to the Center for Research, addiction to social media can be potentially as addicting or more addicting than that to cigarettes or alcohol. 

The appeal of social media comes from many different reasons, one being the instant gratification and the pleasure or reward of opening social media and refreshing it to see a new post or message. Furthermore, it is a place where people seek validation. It’s posting something and using the amount of likes or views to determine your own self worth. 

This can become dangerous. When the instant gratification or validation is not achieved, people begin to think negative, untrue things about themselves. According to the National Institute of Health. “People with lower self-esteem spend more time on social media.” Furthermore, “People who experience difficulties in social relations, such as individuals with low self-esteem, socially anxious individuals, and introverts, are more motivated to use social networks in order to compensate for their unsatisfactory face-to-face interactions.” 

I think we’re all heavily in denial. I think somewhere deep in our minds we will never want to accept that we are ruining our self esteem, self worth, and mental health solely because we don’t want to be left out; we don’t want FOMO because we don’t know what every single one of our peers is doing. 

It’s upsetting that the way we rely on communication is through sending each other pictures of our faces through an app instead of seeing each other face to face, going and doing things together. We will forever be stuck in the digital world, we will forever be stuck talking about all the adventures we want to go out and do but never will.

We depend on a cyber barrier to talk to the people we like because over time we’ve lost the basic skills to walk up to someone and actually ask them out. We’re losing our ability to interact with other human beings and that is such a sad thing. 

I encourage you to think about the way you let technology affect you in your day to day life. I encourage you to put your phone down and actually go outside, call your friend and hang out with them in person, not on FaceTime. 

Don’t let yourself get lost in the material and unrealistic world of social media. If you never look up from your phone, you’ll miss the incredible things the world has to offer around you. Don’t miss out. Don’t regret your youth because you never did all the things you said you want to do because you were stuck inside your phone. 

The entire world is waiting for you outside your phone screen. Please, go explore.