How many times have you caught yourself scrolling mindlessly through Instagram, while the friends around you are doing the exact same thing? Doesn’t it make you wonder why you all even bothered to meet up? 

Everyone is on social media, whether they like it or not. It’s a wonderful way to stay in touch with people, but sometimes I wonder if we’re losing touch with ourselves in the process.

I just watched a Netflix documentary called “The Social Dilemma,” about the adverse effects of social media on individuals and on society. It was an extremely thought-provoking 94 minutes. It made me wonder whether the promise of keeping us connected to people was actually just a simple ruse to keep us addicted. 

What was so attractive about that Facebook notification that made me drop whatever I was doing just to see who had tagged me in a random post? And how did the next 20 minutes of my life vanish into the abyss of posts that I couldn’t resist scrolling through?

Before I watched the documentary, my screen time couldn’t have been higher. And no, it wasn’t because of Spotify — my most used app was Instagram. 

Like any addict, even though the proof was right in front of me, I was in denial. No way do I have a problem — everyone around me is doing exactly what I’m doing, anyways! How am I supposed to catch up with my friends if I don’t check their Instagram stories every day? What else am I supposed to do? Call or text them?

I needed a social media detox, just for a few days — to prove to myself that I wasn’t addicted, that my social media use was no big deal.

As soon as I hit the little “x” button on the app and Instagram vanished from my phone screen, I got a nagging feeling. An itch. I wanted nothing more than to reinstall it and watch one last cat video. 

Somehow I resisted the temptation and went back to work, instead. A few hours in, when I was exhausted and needed a break, my hand moved of its own volition to pick up my phone. Once I remembered I’d deleted Instagram and that I was now deprived of a much-needed dopamine boost, I started to sulk. I was experiencing a kind of anxiety new to me — I couldn’t ditch the idea that I was missing something all the time. 

But eventually, I adjusted to my new condition. I was talking more to people who mattered to me, rather than staring blankly at influencers’ outfits of the day. I had more time to work out when I wasn’t being jealous of fitness models’ unrealistically sculpted figures. Avoiding Instagram reels of decadent desserts meant I didn’t crave midnight snacks anymore. In essence, I felt healthier and happier.

I have to admit that I did check Instagram after a full week of discipline. But my Instagram screen time is only about ten minutes a day now. Beat that!

The detox made me realize that I didn’t have to look at every story and every post that the app put in front of me. I was fine answering a few DM’s and watching just one or two Tik Toks. 

“It’s the gradual, slight, imperceptible change in our own behavior and perception that is the product.” – “The Social Dilemma,” 2020

I highly recommend you watch “The Social Dilemma” and delete the social media app you use the most for just one day. I promise the difference in your life will be noticeable and positive.

Tagged: social media

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