We will be the first to admit our embarrassingly long screen times everyday. With sleeping 9 hours a day and spending 7 hours scrolling through Instagram and TikToks, our remaining hours are spent staring at laptops for our online classes. This leaves almost no time for off-screen mental detoxes and face-to-face interactions with our families. While social media appears to be the prime form of communication for our generation, we think that it can also pose many negative effects on our mental health and well-being.
Everyone always talks about how Instagram models may be a false portrayal of reality; however, it’s important to realize that this depiction isn’t just by the instagram models of the world. We will be the first to admit to spending hours trying to make our pictures Instagram-worthy, by precisely editing the lights and adding filters. Many of us obsess for hours over if we look “pretty enough” in our pictures or make our friends’ wait to eat their food at brunches so we can take an “aesthetic” picture of the table first. While this sounds insane, the truth is that almost every person on social media has fallen prey to this cultural norm. Though social media originated as a platform for genuine self-expression, it has since evolved into a place meant to please the 1,000+ followers we may have never spoken to more than once in our lives.
Clearly, this is not a healthy way for us to exercise our self-expression and individuality. Social media prevents us from living in the moment since we spend more time capturing memories on camera rather than living them. Furthermore, it has made us too absorbed with chatting with people who aren’t physically present with us, rather than connecting with those who are actually there. So, is social media fine as long as you don’t post?
Unfortunately, the social media obsession has pervaded even the passive act of viewing other people’s posts. It can heavily contribute to FOMO, the feeling where people believe that they’re missing out on the fun that their friends are having. However, by wallowing in this “FOMO,” we miss out on having our own fun and focusing on ourselves. Social media definitely fulfills the saying that the grass is always greener on the other side. Everyone’s life always seems better and brighter than our own on social media, but we must realize that most people only post their happy moments: the birthdays, the parties, the fun. Rarely, does anyone post their moral quandaries or family struggles, yet we certainly all experience them. Once we realize this, it’s evident that we cannot truly judge who someone is or what their life is like from their social media presence.
While social media certainly has its drawbacks, we do know that it serves as a great platform for people to connect over long-distances. In today’s day when social distancing and minimizing physical contact have become a requirement towards keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe, social media seems to be our only resolve in maintaining friendships and even hearing about the world outside of our locked doors. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook can offer individuals a great way to be creative and facilitate important conversations about social reform or novel ideas aimed towards community outreach. Additionally, social media gives initiatives like our blog a platform to reach larger audiences, and it allows us to share new and exciting content while documenting our favorite memories. It’s no doubt that social media is the face of the future, due to its positive impact on industries such as healthcare, technology, and even politics. In the end, we believe that everything is good in moderation, including social media. So, while you’ll definitely still catch us chatting with our friends on social media, partaking in Instagram challenges, and watching all the new TikToks, we will try to make a better effort towards spending time with our families and cutting down that 7-hour screen time.