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Many RBHS students spend time during the day on the social media site Instagram. Recently several specific hashtags have been banned. Photo by Mikaela Acton.
UP TO DATE: Many RBHS students spend time during the day on the social media site Instagram. Feature photo by Mikaela Acton.

Troubles of a social media centered life

I had looked in the mirror and didn’t even see myself anymore. My obsession of the internet had changed how I saw myself.  I then began to see how I had let social media control my life.

A majority of us constantly check our phones to see if we have any notifications from our friends or social media. According to Time to Get Off, women from ages 18-24 spend 88.5 hours a month on average on their cell phones and men, 77.9 hours a month.

The amount of hours we spend on our phones is time we have away from our present life.

I admit I am probably the worst at being on my phone instead of my own reality. Statista shows Instagram and Snapchat are the two social media platforms most commonly known with today’s generation of 2018 , mostly because we grew up with these apps. Instagram was created in the year of 2010 then following the next year, Snapchat was introduced. These apps became a daily part of our lives, including mine. Which is what lead to this summer that taught me the power of social media.

This summer I didn’t go on vacation and instead worked and hung out with my friends.Through those three months, almost every hour throughout the day, bored, I checked my Instagram and Snapchat. I saw people’s pictures  and fun videos, and I felt jealous and low self-esteem. I started to see myself as someone not good enough, not cool enough, to match the lives I watched on social media.

I cared so much for what other people were doing or how pretty they looked that I had forgot who I was. There would be days that I was so disappointed in how my life was going and I compared it to others that I would constantly cry and not leave my bed. I envied how great their online summers were going while I sat in my bedroom watching Netflix.

Although I had finally realized  what had happened to my perspective on life when my mood in general had started to not be itself which, I still struggle with this daily. Once I saw that social media was a common denominator in my problem because I was on it the majority of my time, I decided to change how I saw and defined my life.

According to Statista, 71 percent of the world is on social media, and in 2019  more than 2.77 billion people will be online as well.

Although there are many ways it can affect a person negatively there are also pros to being online.

Social media is a great opportunity to connect with friends and family. It is a way for people to communicate from one location to another. Including the internet. It is able to give people a chance to better their education and knowledge. But people, especially young adults who are still figuring out who they are, can become too obsessed with seeing how other people are living their lives compared to our own.

I applaud those who set aside their phones and are confident in their own choices. Social media’s  the new generation’s obsession and somehow, someway we have to find a balance between reality and connecting on the web.

Another way we are influenced by the media is by seeing celebrities, famous models and super wealthy people living magnificent lives, and we try to live up to these impossible expectations. In reality no one’s life is perfect, but we only see the good moment from someone’s life on their social media accounts. We forget that in reality average people don’t get to travel all around the world every week and are paid large amounts of money. When people see perfect Instagram posts, it’s hard to grasp that it’s okay we’re all unique and live different lives and to find the important things in your life that you are grateful for.

From what I learned this summer, the key to living a better life away from social media is by finding a balance between our phones and our fingers. This will help our lives by giving us time to be grateful for our own lives and be more social not through the screen but by spending time with people we appreciate. My mental health went in a downward spiral because of this; it’s important to take a break from it all every once in awhile. Taking time for yourself would allow you to focus more on your on life. Maybe take a month off social media or not check your Instagram notifications until the end of the day.  

What works for me is not going on any of my accounts every other day. That way I can still post and talk to my friends but also have time to be in my own life. Not many teenagers and adults realize how their mental health is affected by the amount of their cell phone use. When someone stops and takes a second to live in reality, you will begin to feel better about how you think and feel. I have learned that it’s important not to compare life to how others live their lives.  Instead, it is important to focus on the goals; set them for yourself and be surrounded with people who make you happy.

How has social media affected your life? Let us know in the comments below.

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