Social Media Detox? UnderRated.

Technology is addicting, especially when it comes to social media. It is hard to go a day without logging in or checking in on various websites and platforms.

An interesting feature on my cell phone and laptop is screen time. My cell phone and laptop notify me of how much time I spend on my screen and the time allocated to each application

When I think about my screen time, I find it almost alarming. I find in the summer and on vacation, my screen time is so minimal. However, I find in my day-to-day busy life, I am on my screen for significantly more time. When I feel stressed or overwhelmed, I find I gravitate to surfing the web and scrolling on social media as a distracting tactic, allowing me to procrastinate my time. 

As I was thinking about my screen time in more depth, it brought me back to a time when I had no wireless internet on my phone. Back then, I was not ever able to check social media platforms unless I was at home or a place with wireless internet. I did not get internet on my cell phone till my second year of university when I needed the internet for work.

After considering my current screen time, I decided I was going to do a social media detox. 

I have done a detox unintentionally before or have done one when I was away on vacation. I have done several days without my cell phone and connection to the “real world” as I love backpacking and hiking trips, where for obvious reasons, there is no cell service. However, I have never done a detox with social media and technology while in town.

Before completely going cold turkey on all social media, I had to think of a plan. I knew before I started, I needed to do this within reason. For instance, I knew I needed access to my email and phone calls for work purposes.

However, everything else I decided I was going to cut back.

For my cell phone, I decided to temporarily delete all social media applications, such as Facebook Messenger, Instagram, Snap Chat, Visco, and YouTube. For my computer, I decided to limit my access to only my work email and SFU’s canvas page. 

I decided to pre-emptively let some people know that I was planning on disconnecting my phone and computer usage so that they knew the best way to get a hold of me was through calling. From there, I just went for it.

Originally, I wanted to try a week or 5 days, however, based on my decided timing, I could only really allow for 3 days. So, I decided to try it on the weekend.  

It was quite weird. I found I would look at my phone as if something exciting was going to happen. I slowly realized, without social media platforms I did not need my phone throughout the day, except for school and work.

The first day was okay. I didn’t feel like I was not missing anything. On the second day, I was quite curious to know what was happening with everyone. By the third day, I had gotten semi-used to it but was still wanting to scroll when I was supposed to be doing my email for the day. I felt like I was able to see how much I typically gravitate to looking and scrolling on my phone. 

It was an interesting experience. I found I stayed busy with my day-to-day chores and activities. I found myself checking my phone less and less as I got used to having no social media access on my phone. I found I was able to get my work done a lot faster and concentrate my time more effectively. I enjoyed that aspect as I was able to have more free time.

Moving forward, I decided to limit my social media time on my phone and laptop. I have set up a setting that only allows for half an hour each day of social media time. That way, when I am scrolling or looking at social media it hopefully makes my time on it more intentional rather than just passively scrolling. 

A cell phone screen showing the different options to limit and track the type of screen-time on a cell phone.
A cell phone shows 3 screen options to limit and track the type of screen time on a cell phone.

Overall, it was a nice break from social media, even if it was just a couple of days. I found it was harder to be cut off when I was in town compared to when I have done it in the past on vacation. However, I feel like it was a good time to reconsider how much time I wanted to spend on social media.  

Personally, a social media detox allowed me to reflect on my time spent on social media. I was able to re-evaluate how much time I spend on it and how I want to change it. I think was a great experience. I found it not as intimidating as I thought.

Disconnect, try it out!

Social Media Detox? UnderRated. 

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