There’s no denying it, we are in a stage of life in which our phones are our lifeline and our apps are our escape. Social media has grown into a life of its own and has managed to wriggle its way into our everyday lives in a way which is undeniably consuming. No longer are long morning commutes aimless and boring, and no longer do we find ourselves bored without the company of others. With apps such as Instagram and Twitter growing at such a rapid pace, our own lives seem to be struggling to keep up. What began as a way to share our lives with our loved ones has, for many people, turned into anything a game of popularity to full-blown careers. And as addicting and entertaining as it can be, is Social Media really that healthy for us?
In the end, social media is a part of life that, in today’s climate, is inescapable. Many jobs even require you to be present and active online, and it can be incredibly helpful in maintaining closeness with friends or relatives who may live far away. No, social media isn’t a demon or a destroyer of the appreciation of nature. It’s simply a new aspect of the world which has been integrated into our lives in a very dominating way. And like all aspects of the world, moderation is key. Think about it in a way that you might think of your physical health. It’s ok to spend a week indulging in maybe less than healthy food while on vacation, it’s ok to take a week off of the gym when you just aren’t feeling it. And it’s ok to enjoy the pleasures of social media. The key is to avoid it in abundance. Many reports claim that social media has developed into a genuine addiction for many people, and with the opportunities that it offers, it’s understandable why. However, addiction of any kind is never a good thing. If you find yourself unable to dethatch yourself from your device without feeling an itching need to log online, or if your thoughts are consumed with the number of followers you have or don’t have, you might want to take a step back and reconsider what is truly important to you.
A social media detox sounds scary. So much of our lives revolve around what we post online, and what others post online. But taking that step back and shutting yourself off from the internet not only will help you refocus your IRL life goals, it will give you release from the feeling of pressure to constantly compete with your cyber friends or followers. Give yourself a week to detox and refocus, and you will find that the number of likes on your recent photo isn’t nearly as important as developing the relationships with those closest to you in real life. And if social media is a part of your job and is simply unavoidable, there are other little ways to remove yourself from the all-consuming nature of addictive apps. For example, make a conscious effort to shut off your phone at a certain point of the night and read before bed instead; turn off your phone during dinners so that you can focus your energy and attention on the person across from you without worrying about snapping that perfect shot of your meal; you can even start a small book club so that you have something with a deadline that will encourage you to pick up something other than your phone!
All in all, social media is an area of society which is currently ingrained in our lives, and which is becoming more and more addictive by the second. There is no shame in loving social media, but it’s essential to remember that the best parts of the world are still out there to be explored through your experiences rather than your phone screens.