Rewind to 16 years ago, year 2000, where desktop computers held AIM chat-rooms, flip phones were used “only for emergencies,” and Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, were simply nonexistent. Fast-forward 16 years later and I sit here today, just like you, looking at my screen, wondering how I could ever go an entire day without checking my social media platforms.
Today, we live in a world where people’s sources of communication, entertainment, happiness, obsessions, and even depression, derive from social media. I never truly understood the reasoning behind my parents “No Phone Policy” at dinner, until my appalling reactions turned into patterns, and suddenly, a huge wake up call.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve adapted to the rules my parents set for me and realized that their intentions weren’t out of pure evil, like I had convinced myself; but rather, out of love. Take it or leave it, it was a compliment. They stressed so much that they wanted me there and I never really understood what there meant. I mean, I physically was there, what was missing? The missing piece was my mind and incapability to live in the present, and much of it can be blamed on the attachment I have with my phone. I can admit, this is something I still struggle with on a daily basis, but I can finally own up to it and now it is your turn to do so too.
So, I challenge you to take a Social Media Detox with me. Do it with your friends, your family, but honestly, at the end of the day, you should just do it for yourself. Not forever; it’s just a little cleanse. Choose a day/time of the week and set yourself apart from social media. Go do something for your own sake, and not something just to be featured on Snapchat. You need this break. Your brain needs this break. And everyone around you wants this break for you. It may seem difficult, but it’s time to accept this challenge. You will realize how much time you spend absorbed in that small device of yours, as opposed to engaging with the people that situate right in front of you.
Checking and updating social media may seem like a priority at times, but in reality, none of it really matters. Like, did my Instagram edit look too saturated? Did I get enough ‘likes’ on my pro pic? Did I update all of my social media platforms to prove I actually go out? There are far more worries in this world that should concern us than ones like these.
Even I can admit there were times where I was convinced my world was coming to an end because I couldn’t access social media for a few days. However, it was times like these that forced me to let go of whatever else was going on in the world and enjoy the present. I came to realize that I spent far more time concerned with what other people were doing, that it ultimately distracted me from the joys in my own life.
You may think the only thing holding your social life together lies in the palm of your hands, but trust me, you are so wrong. If it’s one thing this little social media cleanse will help you realize, it is that you have spent way more time looking into a screen than the people that are really in front of you!
So here’s my advice: live in the moment, cherish every second, and appreciate what’s really in front of you, because no picture, no Snapchat, and no text can truly capture your present happiness.