Let’s talk about a topic that affects almost all of us: social media. In 2019, I delved into the impact of social media on our well-being and interpersonal communication, and I was quite shocked. I already knew that platforms like Instagram had drawbacks, but I was surprised by how much these companies influence us.
New technologies are increasingly infiltrating our lives and robbing us of the meaning and satisfaction we derive from everyday activities. We must reconsider our current relationship with technology as it fosters addictive behaviours that limit our autonomy in directing our attention.
Many people underestimate the ability of social media to affect their mood. Being exposed to the perfect lives of influencers or friends on Instagram every day can create feelings of inadequacy, especially when we’re already feeling down.
While smartphones, ubiquitous internet access, and digital platforms that connect billions of people are incredible innovations in our daily lives, I’ve started to feel like a slave to my smartphone. Checking Instagram for the 4th or 5th time in an hour or feeling an irresistible urge to unlock my phone when it vibrates has left me feeling emotionally confused. I no longer feel like I consciously decide when to use or leave my phone aside.
Enough is enough!
I’m emotionally torn when it comes to my phone. On the one hand, I appreciate the benefits it offers and staying connected with friends, but on the other hand, I increasingly feel the need to banish Instagram and similar platforms from my phone for a few days. When I look at my screen time and realize how much value I place on using these tools and how much they control me instead of the other way around.
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That’s why I’ve set a goal to fundamentally change my relationship with these technologies. I want to regain conscious control over when and why I use my smartphone.
Even as I write this text and intended to quickly check my screen time, I fell into the trap of these “innovative” technologies and ended up on Instagram, almost forgetting my original purpose. Enough is enough!
So, let’s lay the cards on the table. This week, my daily screen time was 4 hours and 38 minutes, last week it was 4 hours and 49 minutes, and the week before that it was 4 hours and 57 minutes. That means I spent an average of 10-20 hours per week on Instagram and 5-10 hours per week on WhatsApp in the past three weeks. When I think about all the productive things I could have done in that time, it not only wipes the smile off my face but also makes me genuinely sad and disappointed in myself.
What does excessive social media consumption bring me, and why can’t I even leave my phone behind when I get up from my desk and go to the bathroom?
I want to proactively change this behaviour. The Netflix documentary “The Social Dilemma” made me reflect on how much time I waste on social media. And with the book “Digital Minimalism” by Cal Newport, I delved even deeper into the topic. Digital minimalism is the path to a life with more focus and attention to what truly matters. This book also helped me understand the mechanisms behind social media, so I’ll be quoting from it in the upcoming posts.