DUH! It was proven, like, eons ago. Okay, maybe not that long ago, but studies show we’re definitely addicted. Harvard University proved self-disclosure online (the process of revealing information about oneself) has the same effect on the brain as substances such as COCAINE! That’s crazy! Every time we login to check Facebook, Twitter and Instagram we’re firing up the same part of the brain that lights up when we take drugs. Our dopamine levels increase and we get a sort of high. No wonder it’s so hard to quit!
This has me thinking about the adverse affects of social media. Because there’s always a yin to every yang. If we’re getting high every time someone likes that cute IG we posted with our besties on our fave rooftop at sunset and omg can everyone see my double chin? But I’m going to post it anyway because my outfit was cute and I need my ex to see how well I’m doing despite the fact I’m still obsessed — THEN there has to be a low. And in fact, there’s a LOT of lows.
For starters, we miss out on countless opportunities because of our time spent (a.k.a wasted) on these platforms. The average user spends 23 HOURS A WEEK on social media. We’re basically employed to stalk our cousin’s best friend’s sister’s step mom’s dad’s dog. And Fluffy isn’t even as cute as your sister’s hamster. So, why do we spend this much time getting lost in the twitter-sphere? Here’s where our brains fail us:
- Social validation
- FOMO (if you don’t know what it stands for then this post probably doesn’t apply to you)
- Ego (we’ve got to feed them so they can grow big and strong, right?)
- Comparison and self-esteem
This could be a list of motivational factors, right? WRONG. In a study done by University of Salford, U.K., 50% of users said social networks made their lives worse. Constant comparison leads to poor self-esteem and 66% of people from the study stated they lost sleep after spending time on social networks. I can attest to this after experiencing severe anxiety and FOMO after watching all of my friends’ Snapchats and Instagram stories in my pajamas.
All of this research just validates my decision to delete every social media app. We (especially millennials and younger generations) get so caught up in our own worlds and the worlds of people who may or may not even matter, that we forget to breathe in the outdoor air or acknowledge the person speaking to us IRL. I’m sure I’ll re-download the apps eventually, but I already feel a weight lifted off my shoulders. I’m not worrying about what amazing things other people are doing. Instead, I’m actually trying the things I’ve been wanting to try — including writing this blog.
So if you’re feeling bold, go ahead and try it out yourself! You can even take baby steps and delete just one app; could be your least favorite. Pro Tip: download games such as Solitaire to wean yourself off social media. That’s another phone addiction conversation for later…
^^ Blu Jay