Delete social media to get back countless hours of time

Is it just me, or do we open our smartphones with the intention of sending one text, setting a reminder, or adding an event to your calendar, only to find ourselves 20 minutes later scrolling through social media feeds? There were instances where I found myself mindlessly scrolling through my phone, jumping from one social media platform to another. I have wasted so much time mindlessly scrolling. For much of my adolescence and youth, I cannot fathom the number of wasted hours I have spent on Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. I knew that this behavior of mindlessly scrolling for hours would be problematic during my college years, so I decided to do something about it. I deleted and logged out of my Instagram and Facebook apps, and I have not looked back ever since. 

Admittedly, I did not immediately delete my social media apps off of my phone when I arrived as a freshman here at Valparaiso University. I remember at the start of my freshman year at college, I wasted so much time in bed mindlessly scrolling through my feeds as the first thing I did when I woke up. I would waste around thirty minutes to an hour per morning, scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, and I would feel largely unproductive. This affected how I would spend my free time outside of school in a negative way. I remember how I was navigating through finding my niche, and I do believe that my overuse of social media hindered me from achieving the highest grades and from having authentic social interaction. I also would feel a huge sense of “FOMO” as a result of exposing myself to my social media friends’ best photo reels of the past weekend or how trendy and beautiful they looked in their brand new outfits. This feeling of “FOMO” hindered my ability to socialize authentically and genuinely. 

I noticed that when I used to use social media, I would be detached from table conversations, walks with friends on the way to classes, and from paying attention to the world around me. Overusing social media has hindered my ability to read literature, pursue hobbies and engage in deep, genuine conversations. So, during November of my freshman year, I finally deleted all my social media platforms, aside from Snapchat which I use for texting, and I felt like I gave myself hours of time added into my day. I immediately was more productive in my schooling and in my social life. I believe that you should do the same. 

With the popularity of Tik Tok rising over the last few years, it seems to be here to stay. I refrained from downloading the Tik Tok app, for the purpose of filling my time with other things that do not involve an electronic device or screen. I think I made the right choice as my sibling at home is addicted to the short clips and funny jokes Tik Tok creators churned out every hour.

I’ve noticed in recent conversations that there is less presence and more mindless scrolling on the listener’s part, and more of “what did you say, I am sorry I was looking at my feed”. When a topic bores someone, I always see my peers whip out their phones and check their notifications and open their social media apps, oftentimes switching between three at a time (like from Instagram, to Tik Tok, and to Snapchat). They will completely or partially tune out the conversation that they find boring or not stimulating enough to keep their attention, but instead devote their attention to a screen to interact with their internet friends or double tap a stranger’s picture. I really think that we should wean off of social media and eventually delete it altogether, because there is a world out there which does not require you to have the most followers and likes.   

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of The Torch.

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