Social media can be a great thing. It allows you to connect with old friends from your childhood, you can maintain connections with friends who have moved or are studying abroad, and it can be a great way to waste some time while you’re riding the bus, but you’ve probably also heard that you should spend less time on social media too.
Feel skeptical every time you hear someone say you should take a break from social media? That’s okay! You don’t have to cut social media out of your life completely, but there are a few reasons why you should consider spending a little less time on Facebook and Instagram.
You probably aren’t going to shout it to the world that you’re getting tested for an STD— unless you’re doing it to bring attention to the fact only 12 percent of teens and young adults are tested each year — but you’re probably sharing a lot more than you should with friends and acquaintances you barely know online.
Sharing on social media can have some serious consequences. It can leave you open to cyberbullying, it can impact whether or not you get hired for your first full-time job out of college, and it can actually leave you open to thieves if you regularly share your real-time location.
Post less personal information online. Choose the pictures you upload wisely so images don’t worry potential employers, keep potentially insulting political or religious posts to yourself to avoid alienating people you care about, and never disclose your location so acquaintances aren’t tempted to burglarise your apartment.
It’s impossible not to compare yourself to all the people you follow online. That can cause some serious problems because most people only choose to post updates, images, and messages when there’s something fun or exciting to share. When your friends are getting new jobs, going on vacation, and getting engaged — and you’re not— it’s easy to feel down and out.
The only comparison you should make is with yourself, and the easiest way to do that is to spend less time on social media. No one’s life is as exciting as it seems online, so spending less time seeing what everyone else is up to is the easiest way to be at peace when life seems a little low.
Browsing social media is a great way to waste some time if you’ve got a few minutes, but you don’t have enough time to do anything else. Riding on the bus or sitting in a waiting room are two examples, but social media use can quickly spiral out of control. Before you know it, you’ve wasted hours online browsing pictures and reading status updates with nothing to show for it.
Spend less time on social media and you’ll find more time to do things like:
- Cook homemade meals
- Do a hobby
- Learn a new skill
More Meaningful Connections
Meaningful connections are important. Although social media allows you to make and maintain connections, it does not foster close connections. You can only do that with more personal, face-to-face interactions. Even direct text messages and phone calls are better than interacting with friends on social media!
If you make the decision to spend less time on social media, plan to make more time to make genuine, meaningful connections. Grab coffee with someone you just met in class, ask a friend to come over and watch a movie, or call an old friend from back home instead of following what they are doing on Facebook.
Social media platforms are designed to be addictive. They aren’t designed to make you happy. Unfortunately, the truth of social media is quite the opposite. The more time you spend browsing other people’s profiles, the less satisfied you are likely to feel about your own life.
Many studies are showing that the more time young people spend online, the more likely they are to be depressed. Don’t be a statistic. Find more genuine ways to exist in the world and you’ll be happier for it. Spend more time in nature, journal to make new discoveries about yourself, or create artwork instead.
Whether you’re in high school or college, you and your friends can benefit from spending time on social media, but that doesn’t mean you should let your social media usage get out of hand. There are quite a few reasons why you should consider spending a little less time on social media.