“If you feel the need to constantly post on social media documenting your every move, chances are you’re either addicted to social networking or there is a void somewhere in your personal life.” Germany Kent
The Internet is perhaps the greatest invention humanity has ever made. We are so reliant on it, especially in this time and age, that if the Internet infrastructure was crippled for even a day, we could not proceed with our daily lives normally. Talk about another “new normal.”
Since the beginning of the 21st century, social media platforms have been conquering the world’s population by storm. Today, I bet that only 5% of the people reading this story do not have either Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok or Snapchat. The companies that run these social media platforms have seen tremendous growth over the years because of the deepening social media addiction across the globe.
From my perspective, social media addiction would be one of the key hallmarks of Gen Zs because the people in the age cohort have spent more than a year relying on their Internet devices to keep themselves afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic back in early 2020. Moreover, it worries me to observe that an increasing number of parents are using the Internet to keep their infants and toddlers entertained instead of the old-fashioned toys such as Lego bricks and Hot Wheels.
What about us millennials? Unfortunately, we are no exception. Much of our lives are dependent on social media. However, perhaps that is what society wants us to think.
The significance of social media in shaping communities around the world cannot be overstated. From Instagram campaigns to viral images, any type of message can be seen by millions worldwide within a matter of seconds. For example, the global #BlackLivesMatter movement that took place shortly after the passing of George Floyd resulted after the video of Derek Chauvin detaining and ultimately killing George Floyd was circulated around and afar. A decade ago, we would have never thought that would have been remotely possible.
Unquestionably, social media can do extraordinary things for ordinary individuals, business organisations and government officials, regardless of where they are. However, despite recognising that social media addiction is an actual phenomenon and its impact on an individual’s personal development, many of us like to move on as if nothing happened and all is well.
When we are scrolling through our social media feeds, we disconnect ourselves from reality.
Although I do not use Facebook as often as Instagram and Twitter, it just reinforces the fact that I have all three of those social media platforms. I will admit, I enjoy cruising around these apps. However, it can be overwhelming at times.
We observe that our loved ones, close friends and acquaintances are online. We can watch each other’s actions through the messages, images, and videos they shared. Most people would argue otherwise, but everyone exaggerates their lives to make the world believe that perfectionism is possible.
People do not always tell the truth, and we tend to get down on ourselves for that reason.
For some unknown reasons, we like to participate in the comparison game. We tend to use someone else’s benchmarks to see where we are in life. When we find out that others have made more significant strides than us, jealousy takes over and thus, clouding our sound judgements. This is not fair to you, and at times, you have to re-establish your relationship with reality and remove yourself from all those distractions and falsely fabricated standards.
Ever since the consequences of social media addiction were made known to me, I have decided that I go on a social media detox every weekend. So every Saturday and Sunday, I put my phone aside and just focus on myself and my life. No external noises. No outside influences to interrupt my weekly routine of cleansing my mind. You would most likely not believe how refreshed you would feel after a period of social media detox.
With all that said, the key message here that you should take away from this story is that a balance must exist so that your life does not go off the rails while you observe the lives of others.
Spend some time every week to rid yourself of social media and the Internet in general. You do not necessarily have to do a social media detox every weekend–that is just me. But, I assure you, you will have no regrets