As a genuine millennial, I have firsthand experience of life before and after the advent of social media. Having lived without its inherent pressures, I yearn for simpler times.
1. We're obsessed with it
I browse my social media feeds excessively, around 20 to 25 times a day. It feels compulsive, as if I must stay informed about everything that's happening in the world. Frequently, I catch myself scrolling through Twitter or Instagram without any particular goal, and I pause to question the value of my time spent. I become so engrossed in the content that when I return to reality, I realize those ten minutes added nothing meaningful to my life.
2. We're shown unrealistic expectations
Only a fraction of social media content is authentic, as filters, edits, and staged scenes can distort reality. Nevertheless, we may feel envious or dissatisfied with our lives upon seeing such content, despite being aware that it is fake. Even supposed positive messages can lead to discouragement. As a plus-size woman, I follow plus-size bloggers and clothing brands, but I still cannot relate to most of them. In a world that preaches inclusivity, we can still feel left out.
3. Social media caused a strain in my previous relationship
During my relationship with my ex, I developed an unhealthy habit of constantly checking his Facebook profile, doing so at least five times a day. Perhaps it was due to his emotional unavailability or secrecy, but I felt the need to keep tabs on him. Whenever he added a new female friend or someone left a comment on his page, we would argue. Looking back, it turned out that he was cheating on me, so my suspicions were not entirely unfounded. However, it was not necessary to be so obsessive. Trust is essential in a relationship, and we should avoid speculating on every little social media activity that our partner engages in.
4. I'm missing out on things
When I immerse myself in my iPhone, I disconnect from the world around me. Although I may not be entirely oblivious, I miss out on a lot of things that matter. Instead of scrolling through my phone for the umpteenth time, there are countless other things I could be doing that would add more value to my life. I have a tendency to get lost in my phone, scrolling mindlessly even when I'm not driving, and as a result, I'm neglecting the real world. I could be enjoying the beauty of nature and the company of people around me, but instead, I'm preoccupied with a world that is only partially genuine.
5. I don't want to miss my family time
Since becoming a mother, I've become more conscious of my addiction to my phone. Online stories have reminded me of the importance of being present, such as the story of a boy who wished to be a smartphone so that his parents would pay more attention to him. Another story featured a mother and son reading books on a train. When asked how she got her son to read instead of play on a device, the mother replied, "Children don't listen to us, they imitate us." That statement struck me like a bolt of lightning.
6. I want to teach my children to be better
Smartphones didn't exist when I was growing up. Although I eventually had access to the internet, my childhood was filled with hours of outdoor play, board games with my siblings, reading books, and writing stories. I truly believe that my creativity today stems from those experiences. I want the same for my children; they deserve the opportunity to develop their imaginations in the same way.
7. Maybe I'm just nostalgic
I have a deep appreciation for my childhood, and I believe that my generation was one of the best. Growing up in the '90s, we experienced a simpler time before technology took over. I want to give my children the same kind of simplicity. Although I recognize the advantages of technology, we must differentiate between its educational benefits and the dangers of becoming too engrossed in it.
8. Funny enough, my job is in social media
Despite my career revolving around social media, you might assume that I am an ardent advocate for its widespread use. While I recognize its advantages from a business standpoint - after all, everyone is on social media these days, so it only makes sense for companies to be there too - I also acknowledge that we were able to market products effectively before the advent of social media. We could manage without it.
9. It's not going away
As much as I sometimes wish otherwise, social media is clearly here to stay. While I do appreciate its benefits, I am less enamored with the compulsive aspects of it, so I take steps to address that. For instance, I try to put my phone away each evening so I can spend more quality time with my family. And when I'm about to reach for my phone out of boredom, I sometimes stop myself and remind myself that it isn't really necessary. Whenever I'm with my son, I prioritize him above my phone without exception.