Candice Anvari staff writer
Taking a break from social media seems like an impossible task to a social media addict like myself. This week, I chose to delete all my social media apps to see what effect it has on my life. I’m hoping this experience will allow me to see what I can achieve when I’m not distracted by every sound my phone happens to make.
Today, I deleted all my social media apps and now my phone seems meaningless. I spend an average of four hours a day scrolling through my apps and that number has only increased throughout this time in quarantine. So, I feel like it’ll be impossible for me to entertain myself for four more days without my main source of entertainment. Every few minutes I have a sudden urge to check my phone to see if I got a Snapchat notification because I keep forgetting my favorite apps are no longer there. The way I’ve been able to muffle that urge, so far, is by making myself busy with homework, but the feeling is still palpable every time I have a free second.
When I woke up this morning, my first instinct was to check my phone to see if I got any notifications; but when I remembered my social media apps were no longer there, I felt utter disappointment. In place of scrolling through my phone, I decided to read Persuasion by Jane Austen. I don’t read much throughout the school year because I normally spend every free minute I have on my phone, but reading Persuasion made me feel peaceful all throughout the morning. I kept myself busy with homework and once I finished all my work, I began reading again. I found myself thinking about my phone less and less today.
This morning I did not reach for my phone. I woke up feeling refreshed and active because I didn’t stay up watching TikToks till two in the morning, as I used to before I deleted my social media apps. Today, I went for a run, I found new music and I started reading A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens. While doing these activities, I didn’t think about social media at all. It felt refreshing to not worry about replying to someone’s Snapchat or sending a friend something on Instagram. I thought taking a break from social media would be an impossible task, but now it feels like a monthly necessity.
I made a mistake today. My friend told me to check Instagram because she sent me something. When I told him I couldn’t check until Saturday, he told me it was important. My curiosity got the better of me so I downloaded Instagram just to see an “important” meme. I quickly deleted Instagram again because I wanted to keep this enlightened feeling I’ve been carrying since day two. The two minutes of exposure to Instagram told me what I already knew. I don’t miss social media. I didn’t care about what was popping up on my feed because the only thing on my mind was deleting the app as soon as possible.
Today is the last day of my social media break. I couldn’t help but feel proud of myself for making it untill day five. On day one, all I could do was look forward to day five; but now that it’s here, I feel a little sad. Social media has affected my life in various ways, but deleting my apps showed me that my life doesn’t depend on them. Once I re-download my apps, I don’t think I’ll be as attached to them. This social media break helped me understand how much I could do in a day if I just turn off my phone and get to work. I would recommend a social media break to social media addicts, like myself, because it leaves you with an enlightened feeling that can only be achieved by getting off your phone.
Overall, this social media break was a much needed experience. I’ve come out of it with a stronger sense of self-control. Throughout the experience, I noticed that I gave my undivided attention to spending more time with my family, without the constant interference of my phone. However, it became harder to keep in contact with me because I normally communicate with my friends through social media; but, it was easy to overcome because of other platforms such as Zoom and iMessage. Personally, I went into this experience as an easily distracted person. By the end of the social media break, I noticed that my attention span increased because now I’m less distracted by things that easily distracted me before. Ever since I re-downloaded my apps, I don’t feel the sudden urge to reach for my phone every time it buzzes, so I’d say the experience was an overall success.