Column: Advantages of taking a break from social media

Payton McMillin

Two months, eight and a half weeks, 59 days, or 1,416 hours without social media. Now, being a teen in the twenty first century, this may seem like the end of the world. But honestly, this was the most stress-free time of my life.

I have various opinions on this topic. Not having any form of social media was a huge inconvenience. I was completely unaware of how many friends’ phone numbers I did not have, and there was no way for me to receive them until I saw them in person. I also realized how instead of talking to people, I would go straight to my phone. I used social media constantly. My main apps were Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook. I can definitely say my parents often nagged me about data usage, and I’m pretty sure many kids my age can relate.

But, in other ways, it was the most calming time I have ever had. I became so much closer to my family, my mother especially. I came to realize that after losing social media I would go straight to her to tell her about my day instead of messaging my friends through a little screen.

I also noticed that even though I couldn’t send a photo right away to my parents, I got to come home and explain the importance of the photo face-to-face. I had no idea what was going on outside of school and my house, and I lost a lot of things that I thought were important at the time, like my Snapchat streaks. To many people my age, it is a huge devastation to lose even one Snapchat streak. But shockingly, losing my 27 streaks wasn’t as hard as I thought. I didn’t understand how useless those were until after being unplugged.

To be completely honest, I am an old soul. I was able to “survive” two months without social media perfectly fine. And yes, I did complain about a few inconveniences every once and a while. But frankly, I believe that in this world today, we focus too much on other people and not enough on ourselves. We are always curious on so many unimportant things like who’s eating what, who’s wearing what clothes, or whose mirror selfie is best. There are bigger things out there. There are so many moments in my life where I think back to myself sitting at home on my phone, and I’m just listening to the giggles of my two year old brother. I feel guilty about this for one reason, and that is because if I would have just put the phone down and really watched my mom and brother interacting I would have had yet another moment to cherish right before my eyes. But we get so involved with other people’s lives that we don’t really take the time to enjoy our own.

With it being 2018, the world revolves around technology. One of the 88 students and staff that I surveyed here at DCHS did not have a cell phone. We rely so much on technology and social media, and most people’s’ arguments are “I can’t contact my friends” or “I am addicted to it.” But I just have a favor to ask. When you get home, keep your phone in your backpack or put it straight on the charger and don’t touch it until you are heading to bed. There is a greater chance to become so much more aware of your surroundings. You will come to notice different characteristics about your family or simply realize how important it is to sit down for a meal with them. Especially us seniors, we have a few months until we will long for sitting and talking with our parents in person. Are you going to look back and wish you would have cherished those embarrassing suppers, or are you going to sit and laugh with them face to face before you won’t be able to?

I could very much see the difference in how my life changed due to being unplugged. I sit back and enjoy the people in my life but still enjoy the luxury of having easy contact. Since then, I have re-added social media to my life. Even though it is still something I check everyday, I have noticed that I don’t check it nearly as often. I usually only look at it once a day, right before I go to bed. I don’t find it as important anymore. I have made it more of a point to focus on my own life as well as isolate myself from other people’s lives. In my opinion, I feel like everyone should try going unplugged at least once in their life to really absorb the world around us.