Social media plays a massive role in our everyday lives. For most, waking up in the morning means checking your phone to scroll through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. And despite many warnings not to, many people spend hours on their phone before bed. I’m as guilty as the rest. If I have a spare minute between classes, I check my phone. If I am procrastinating on that essay due soon, I will scroll through Twitter. Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. But you can control how much power social media has over your life.
Comfortable silence has become a thing of the past thanks to social media. No one seems to be OK with just taking the time to sit and think, and any type of silence is awkward silence unless you can use your phone to distract you. I know just how distracted I am from the outside world when I am checking Snapchat or any other form of social media. Before my classes start, everyone has their phone out to pass time before the professor comes in. Let’s be honest, it’s awkward sitting in a silent room with people you don’t know very well. But instead of talking to one another about homework — or life in general — we tend to depend on our phones as a safety net.
Social media has helped us communicate better online, but it has also put a damper on how we communicate face-to-face. There are limits to how close you can get with someone online — it’s much harder to be open with and to trust someone who you only interact with through social media. And while you can certainly build relationships from social media, these relationships won’t be as strong as the ones you build face-to-face. There are plenty of beneficial relationships built from online forms of communication, but social media shouldn’t hinder your ability to have personal relationships.
There are countless reports indicating that some people’s self-esteem is negatively affected by social media. It’s not common for people to show their struggles on social media, so it always looks like everyone is living an amazing life without any issues. An Instagram feed with endless pictures of other people’s vacations, successful internships and relationships doesn’t exactly make anyone feel better about themselves. The unrealistic standards set by social media outlets seem even more unreachable, because it’s not just celebrity content that we see — our closest friends are also posting on social media, and it’s easier to compare yourself to someone you know.
The temptation to check social media will always be there, but you can stop it from controlling your life. When you notice yourself comparing your life to someone else’s or depending on your phone as a safety net, take a break from it all. Take some time to reflect on how you feel, and ways you can change that.