Technology is changing us. It is changing our brains, our relationships, the way we think, the way we talk, the way we learn, and it even is affecting the way we sleep. These changes are both positive and negative…and are largely affected by the Social Media we use daily.
In an Instagram Story this week, we posted a chart that showed both the positive and negative impact Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter can have on Social Media users. Across the board there are negative impacts on sleep, bullying, body image, anxiety and depression. On the other hand, there are positive impacts for self-expression, community building, and awareness of people’s health. It is no secret that our phones have quite literally become extensions of ourselves. There are always two sides to using technology, and in order to benefit from it, we must use it mindfully.
For starters, we asked Instagram users in a poll if they think they spend too much time on Social Media. Ninety-five percent of users said yes, while only five percent said no. The good thing about this result is that it shows, for the majority of people, they are aware of the time they spend on their phones.
Starting a conversation
We asked students on campus about their daily social media usage and screen time to better understand how this phenomenon directly impacts student lives, and to raise a discussion about using our technology more mindfully.
Two of the students we talked to noted that when they did a social media cleanse it “felt good,” though they only went maybe one week without a certain app. While cleanses are a great way to take a break from social media when you are feeling the negative impacts of it, chances are you will always go back to using those apps again.
So how can we use technology more mindfully?
Stop making everything a competition on social media platforms. Do not compare how many likes you receive on a post with the mind boggling amount of likes others seem to receive instantaneously.
- Tip: Turn off notifications when you post a picture or status on social media platforms so you are not tempted to check your post every time your phone lights up.
You can monitor your daily usage on your phone and view how much time you are spending on each application on your device through the Screen Time feature in the settings on your iPhone.
- Tip: Set daily limits on apps that you feel you are spending too much time on and are distracting you from more productive and beneficial activities. If you do not have an iPhone you can downloadMoment — Balance Screen Time, which tracks your screetime just as efficiently as the Screen Time feature on Apple devices.
The more time you spend studying or reading textbooks the more appealing your phone and social media platforms become. Technology can serve as a easy distraction due to its exciting content and bright colors that enable you to escape from dull textbooks.
- Tip: When completing homework or studying, try switching your phone to grayscale to further eliminate any temptations that may arise to check your phone during your study time. Trust us — even a History textbook is more interesting than an Instagram feed in grayscale!
Technology is changing us, and we must be aware of this in order to allow technology to shape ourselves and society in beneficial ways!