Don’t depend on social media for happiness

By Jaime Watts, Columnist

On average, people spend about five hours a day on their phone, which largely includes the use of social media. Like many students, I recently noticed that these apps were consuming me — I was constantly feeling an urge to check Instagram or Snapchat. This epiphany inspired me to take a social media cleanse.

I deleted the apps for a day and it greatly benefited my mental health. Before, I was worried about people opening my snaps and not responding or constantly scrolling through the Instagram explore page, only to find pictures of someone’s beautiful vacation or events I was excluded from.

Social media can be used positively by highlighting an important moment, sharing fun photos, keeping up with friends and relatives who live far away and more. However, there are also a lot of negative effects, which is why it is important to take a break from it every now and then. Whether it is a couple hours or a week, it is imperative that people realize social media is not a dire necessity in life. Those five hours spent on your phone could be used for something more productive.

Studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics that show that social media can become addictive and triggers feelings of sadness and jealousy. One study found that the use of Facebook negatively affects the well-being of young adults.

Constantly scrolling through Instagram can make you feel left out and self-conscious. You might see a photo of your friends hanging out without you or see a profile of someone’s life that you want.

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The issue is people tend to only show the positive aspects of their life on social media. It is a fabricated reality and people should not think that anyone’s life is perfect. Those perusing these “perfect” Instagram feeds might think they are the only ones with flaws in their life, leading them to start questioning their own happiness and well-being.

During the day of the cleanse, none of this worried me. I felt freer and happier. I was also able to get more work done without the distraction of the buzzes and chirps of social media notifications.

Social media can be used for good in society and is not inherently negative; however, it is still important for people to realize it is also not worth constantly worrying about. Do not rely on social media to dictate your happiness or you will not be able to fully enjoy life.

If you find yourself being overwhelmed by social media, delete the apps. You will quickly come to understand how trivial and superficial they are.

Jaime is a sophomore in LAS.

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