Social Media Cleanse

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For junior Elle Campbell and sophomore Hannah Wood it was time to face their addiction head on. More specifically their addiction to Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

Teens don’t realize how glued they are to social media until they take the time to look up from their screens. Sometimes it takes an intentional decision to take a break, before it rules your life.

Campbell downloaded Snapchat and Instagram around third grade. As she has gotten older, she said her view on social media has shifted. 

She said social media is a place where a lot of people compare themselves, and at times can be very toxic, especially for teens.

“As a person who overthinks a lot, I’ll be looking at a post and I’ll be like, Oh my gosh, their life is so perfect, which clearly, to be honest, everyone likes to put on Instagram. Nobody likes to put out, “Oh, I’m struggling,” on social media,” Campbell said.

Wood described social media as a “public highlight reel.” She said that it only shows the perfect parts of people’s lives, which can lead friends and followers to think there are no bad parts. Wood said it creates an impossible standard to be perfect in areas of your life and body that aren’t even real.

“I feel like it kind of holds me back. You are too busy scrolling and not working on yourself. You’re too busy seeing the perfect sides of people wishing you were like them but not doing anything about it. Yeah, it’s just toxic,” Wood said.

Both Campbell and Wood have taken multiple breaks from their socials to focus on what is important in their lives, work on themselves, and be productive.

“You’re not supposed to live your life through your phone. I needed to start living my life through my own lens and not seeing what everybody else is seeing wondering what everyone else is doing, having FOMO, and live my own life,” Wood said.

Campbell recently took a break during quarantine for around two months. Campbell had said she noticed herself getting sucked into social media and not living in the moment. Her screen time went up even more when the lockdown forced her to stay home when she wanted to be more productive with her time.

The week of Nov. 1, she redownloaded her social media apps with a clearer conscience. 

“I feel like it can get us all at some point, even though I’m doing good with it right now, give me a week and then I’m overthinking everything,” Campbell said, “Know that it’s normal to take breaks. It’s okay to realize that like, I’ve been on this for way too long.” 

After Campbell took her cleanse, she realized that she didn’t need it in her life as much as she thought.

Social media influencer, Emma Chamberlain, talked on her podcast about the benefits in her own life from taking a break from social media over quarantine, even as a public figure.

“It’s so easy to fall into when you’re on it all the time and you don’t have a life outside of it. But like the life that we all could have, can have, and do have outside of our phones is actually so much better. It [the break] really helps so then when you have to go back on your phone, you’re in such a stronger mindset to deal with it, deal with all the punches that are thrown at you,” Chamberlain said.

Although she has a different experience with social media because she is in the public eye, she said she is still a person with feelings and anxieties that can get overwhelming when she is on her phone. 

Chamberlain compared getting off of her phone to changing an element of her lifestyle, like exercising. It takes breaking habits and finding new norms, but makes you feel so much better.

“I’d been on my phone too much and I’m thinking about it too much and I start to forget about what’s really important, which is like, you know, loving people and like being passionate about what I do in life,” Chamberlain said, “When I’m not on it, I’m a lot better of a person and my whole entire life is going to improve from that.” 

Wood also said she feels a lot better when she puts the phone down. She said you never know how much it could change your life, even though it seems insignificant.

She said it really comes down to your perspective and headspace when on social media. According to Wood, it can be good for a lot of things, but you have to know your boundaries mentally and physically. She said, ultimately, you have to keep in mind that things aren’t always as they seem, and constantly be aware of your time spent on social media to make sure you aren’t letting the real world pass you by.

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