In today’s society many are able to call, text, and scroll to see what other people are doing, regardless if they are a world or just a few steps away. With the vast variety of ways for people to connect with others through these online outlets, it’s easy to get lost in the idea of this new way of communicating with each other.
One problem that this generation faces is that one can spend hours of their day distracted by their phones, mostly due to social media. During 2015, the average person had around five different social media accounts and spent around an hour and 40 minutes on their social media. Two years later, the average time spent grew to two hours and 15 minutes. Unfortunately some can even spend more time than that, especially when sites allow for multiple accounts. For example, the account owner can make multiple different Instagram accounts and create or split their current account in two.
As a group, more than half of the Oracle staff decided to take on the social media detox challenge for an entire week. The purpose of the detox was to unplug for a week and challenge someone to give up their social media. Not only that but it gave an insight on whether or not some could manage without their accounts. The rules were that they had to delete their apps and refrain from using any social media sites from Monday morning until Sunday night. Second hand social media was also prohibited, such as looking on someone else’s social media or participating in it. Traditional social sites were prohibited and for the purposes of this experiment, so were YouTube, Skype, and a few select others.
At the beginning of the challenge many had trouble differentiating some of the social media sites they had from regular apps. Many did not recognize that Pinterest, Youtube, gaming, and other more “basic” accounts were also considered social media sites.
Staffers had several reasons for participating in the detox.
“I kind of wanted to see how far I could make it. I really wasn’t that plugged into social media before ninth grade,” said Co-Opinion Editor Jordyn Dees. “Now I feel like I’m so into it, so it was like a test to see if I could go back and just take a break.”
Another problem with social media today is that the habit is so ingrained that many cannot fathom functioning without it. Many worry so much about missing out on their digital life that they forget to actually live their lives outside of it.
“A big thing for me is that I didn’t want to give up social media because I was like ‘What if something happens to my friend and I like don’t know about it or what if this and this happens and I can’t check their Finsta or their Snapchat?’” said Co-A&E Editor Doreen Coreen.
Not only is social media a problem when it comes to wasting time and the fact that people can grow too attached to it, it is also a problem when these sites have become so much of a norm that sometimes one doesn’t even recognize that they are using a social media platform.
Before the detox, participants believed that some of the positive side effects would be an increase in productivity as well as sleep. While some on staff felt better rested and were able to finish more of the things that they wanted to get done throughout the week, a large majority said that neither of these things occurred. Instead many found that they used other things to distract themselves from sleeping or completing their tasks.
“I wasn’t in any way more productive per say, like I didn’t get any more work done, but I felt like the time that I spent on things that were like divertions, were divertions that I actually wanted like actually watching a movie rather than scrolling through Facebook during the movie,” said Advisor Kristen Crosby.
However, many staff members did said they would participate again in a similar challenge, some even continued the detox for a longer period of time. All reported being content with the challenge and most said this experience forced them to reflect on their social media habits.
Overall, in a society where social media dominates as opposed to real social interaction, people can become too consumed in the virtual world.
Mari Hernandez // Opinion Editor