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  • Brooke Gaskell, University of West Florida

Disconnecting From Social Media

It seems in this day and age if you don’t have social media accounts, then you are almost as disconnected as you would be if you didn’t have a phone. Now more than ever, social media has connected us to those far away and detached us from what is right in front of us every day. We spend so much time looking, watching, “liking,” and commenting on other people’s lives that we often lose track of our own. Some may go as far as to say as we forget who we are in the process as well. Being pulled in different directions and talking with a wide array of people for an extended period harms us. That is why this topic is so important. It is crucial to be aware of the concerns over social media and how it affects our minds and our lives.

Why should we disconnect from social media?

The answer to this question varies depending on who you ask. For some, it may be for personal reasons. Yet, for others, they must go silent because of their jobs. And on rare occasions, some people feel that it is best to keep opinions and other issues to themselves and not share them with the online community. But overall, I do think that everyone should have a specific time for social media “detox.” Each person has their reasons for getting off of social media, and it could be as simple as “I just want to try it to see if I can do it.”

How do we disconnect from social media?

Some may say that getting off of social media is challenging. I agree 100%. We are all connected to these platforms, including many of our friends and family. We can see them in real time without even having to reach out and say hello. Although, when we choose to disconnect from the apps, some of us may experience what is called “FOMO” or Fear of Missing Out. This fear means we get anxious or concerned about what we don’t know, and we want to be “in the know,” of course, it’s only human nature. So, how do we disconnect?

Start with the apps or platforms that you know you click on the most. The apps that are the most “sticky.” The ones that you realize, without even thinking, your finger has clicked to open and start mindlessly scrolling or consistently refreshing. I would consider these apps to have formed a habit within your mind, that may have turned out to become excessive or a bit “unhealthy” for lack of a better term. The first apps I deleted off my phone were Instagram and Snapchat. (Notice I said I deleted them off my phone. Just because you are disconnecting from social media, does not mean you have to remove your accounts entirely.)

Once you have deleted the app(s) that you feel takes the most of your time and attention, you then set a time frame. This amount of time can be as little as a day, or several months, or forever depending on how long you think you need. It is essential to stick to your time frame and watch the small changes that start to arise in your life.


What next?

The steps seem easy, but it does require will power to keep social media off your phone and not let it “drag” you back in before you are ready. The benefits of staying off of social media are generally far more significant than those of when you are heavily engaged.

Benefits of disconnecting from social media:

  • Less attention spent on others besides yourself

  • More focus on what is “right in front of you.”

  • Less screen time (physical and mental benefits)

  • Less comparison of your life to others

  • Higher productivity

  • A different perspective on everyday life

  • More time to learn who you are as a person and what you truly enjoy

The list could continue. The fact of the matter is: it is your choice. Your time, your thoughts, and your life should be under your control. Disconnecting from social media is a chance to step back and analyze those topics and see what you are or aren’t missing from social media. Like everything in our lives, there is a delicate balance. This could be a chance to find a balance between technology and you.

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