No Service- Lost Connection
By: Jessie Garten
Buzz...Ring… the sounds of our phones constantly consume our lives and our compulsive, addictive behaviors compel us to pick up the next call, respond to the next text, and use our phones a majority of the day. We are often guilty of being more present online than in our real life. During COVID-19, while we missed out on face-to-face interaction, social media provided a pathway to stay in touch. We were able to keep in touch with loved ones miles away with a simple swipe of the screen, but excess time on devices has both positive and negative effects on our mental health. While social media platforms bring together creative minds to create innovative content, allow us to interact with diverse groups, and collaborate to achieve a common goal, the negative effects on mental health often outweigh the positives. Many people are able to mask their true feelings behind the screen and create a “wished reality” for themselves. The person who seems to be struggling with their life may be working on themselves, while the so-called perfect person may be struggling to find happiness. As we learn about the harsh effects of social media, the awareness of mental health has become more apparent. Here are some tips and tricks to avoid getting trapped behind the screen:
1. Delete Distraction, and Add Attraction
Through the notification feature on our phone, we are constantly reminded of the apps that may consume our lives for hours. Instead of installing social media app after app, think of downloading productive apps. Some fitness apps include MyFitness Pal and Sworkit, which allow users to track and log workouts. Other apps, such as Insight Timer and Calm provide quotes, breathing tips, and meditation exercises.
2. Remember what you love and do more of it
As we spend hours on our phone, we can stray away from the things we enjoy doing most. Despite the hustle and hardworking nature of our society, it is important to carve out time for these activities. For photographers, this may mean taking photos of nature a few times a week, for artists this can be painting on a canvas, and for lacrosse players this may mean having a catch with a friend. This is important to repair the real life relationships that may be negatively impacted by technology. Writing down reminders to fit this into one’s day is important.
3. Track the time you spend online
We’re all guilty of it;clicking on a tag in an Instagram post, and all of sudden we find ourselves looking at a friends' profile and recent pictures twenty minutes later. By tracking daily usage on specific social media we can raise awareness to those we should limit. For those who lack self control, there are apps designed to block the usage of apps and websites that can distract you from being productive every day and on Apple devices you can set times for screen time and app usage limits in settings.
While new technology emerges daily, it is our responsibility to maintain the real-life connection we have with one another. Think of asking a stranger how their day went, or making time to catch up with loved ones. It’s our responsibility to reconnect and maintain real-life experiences despite social media’s impact on our lives.
Check out https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7364393/ to learn more.