I can’t believe I made it! It was tough, but I made it!
How did it happen
A few months ago, I opened my eyes at 12 noon, unable to sleep. As a natural response to insomnia, I grabbed my phone. I was scrolling through Instagram when a thought struck me. Wait, isn’t that what keeps you from sleeping in the first place? Also, how does scrolling through Instagram make me sleepier?
Then another question came to me. Why the hell am I using Instagram? I started to think carefully.
Guess what, I couldn’t find any reason why I used the app! I didn’t learn much, didn’t have a lot of fun, and didn’t make a lot of friends. In short, I haven’t gained anything valuable from the time I spent on this platform.
Thinking about it, I realized that the only reason I created my Instagram account in the first place was because all my friends had accounts; plus, it seemed cool to have followers and have something to do on my phone in my spare time. Is this familiar to anyone?
So I decided to do something. I did not temporarily deactivate the account as I had done many times before. Instead, I opened my laptop and deleted it. And with just one click, four years of posts, story highlights, DMs, and subscribers are all gone, just like that!
I checked myself frequently after deleting my account to assess whether my life had changed significantly, and here’s what I found.
#1: Reduced screen time
I thought I would regret it the next day, the week or the month. Usually, I felt this constant need to check Instagram every hour or so, so I expected to be a bit restless. However, I didn’t.
Since the app was what kept me checking my phone frequently, my phone’s screen time was also significantly reduced. It went from three hours to maybe a little over an hour, and most of that time was spent for productive purposes.
#2: Find my purpose
Checking your phone for no reasonable purpose is quite common among teenagers, or at least among my friends. I noticed them, and sometimes myself, mindlessly staring at our phones and browsing social media to kill time. If only there was a way to break this destructive habit. Oh wait!
After saying “goodbye” to the most addictive app on my phone, I got into the habit of doing things consciously and with intention, and not just using tech devices. I started to fully enjoy what I ate, became more engaged when hanging out with friends, focused more when studying, and slept better.
#3: Find Joy in Other Recreational Activities
Because I was no longer frequently occupied with this magical little technological device, I had to find other ways to entertain myself.
I picked up the Kindle that had been forgotten on the shelf for a long time.
I called my friends to go for an afternoon walk together.
I put on some music, I danced and sang with all my heart.
It was great, seriously! After a tiring day of glueing my eyes to the computer screen, having the chance to take a break and relax is priceless! Because I was so busy having fun, I couldn’t even remember to check my phone every 15 minutes like I did before deleting Instagram.
#4: Feel less pressure to do things
Have you ever felt pressure to do something just because everyone else, especially people your age, was doing it? Have you ever bought things you don’t need or followed trends you didn’t even really like just because you felt pressured to follow them?
Well, I used to do that until I realized what other people do with their lives doesn’t really matter to me. I no longer thought, “I would look so cool and have more taste if I dressed like that” or wondered, “Should I buy that new lipstick that everyone is trying on?”
As the outside pressure had been reduced, I began to listen within to discover my true needs. Why? Because only I can tell myself if I like this fashion trend or if I agree with this statement or not. Thus, I came to understand myself more. Believe me guys, it was amazing!
#5: Have better relationships with “offline” people
Because I could no longer see people’s lives on social media, I had to actively contact and catch up with them. As a socially awkward teenager, I’m not going to lie, it was quite difficult at first. However, once I got used to it, I learned to love real social interactions much more than social media.
Since there is no DM, I had to have a real conversation with my friends.
Since there is no story to verify, we actually had to talk about our days.
Since there is no comment section, I needed to congratulate them in person on the dress they just bought which I thought was cute.
Building and maintaining relationships with people “offline” is a little more difficult, but much more meaningful and rewarding. I hope you find joy in interacting with loved ones in person like I did if you’re also socially awkward.
Take away for you
I know it takes courage and a lot of willpower to give up social media, even for a short time. So if you’ve done it or thought about it, good job!
Hopefully, with all the benefits I listed above, you can find the reason and motivation to eliminate or reduce social media usage. Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat are not entirely harmful, only when you don’t know how to use them properly and with limits.
Through this article, I am not suggesting that everyone get rid of social media altogether. I’m just asking viewers, especially teenagers, to start doing what’s right for them, even when it’s hard.
Your life is yours. It is your responsibility to make it a life worth living and waking up to daily.
Now that I’ve been on digital detox for a few months, my phone no longer controls me. I control it and everything I have access to. As someone who was almost addicted to this magical little device, I’d say it’s a huge hit. That being said, do I want to start using them again?
Yes, yes I do. Despite the harm it might do, social media is wonderful if you use it for a purpose.
I’m starting to be selective about what I allow in my feeds and who I follow. If they are not useful for my sanity, energy and knowledge, they cannot be shown to me.
I continue to text apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp, but social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter will only be sidelined for use on my laptop.
I started a blog on Instagram where I write reviews about the books I read (this is the link if you want to check it out). I consider this a fitting reason to keep the app on my phone 🙂
And you? Do you have a good intention to use social media?