4 Reasons to Take a Break From Social Media This Winter Break
As Mark Twain once said, there are only three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes, and social media. (Okay, that's what he WOULD have said had he lived to see 2017.) But as fun as social media can be, there are definitely some downsides to checking Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram every day. Whether you've noticed these downsides consciously or subconsciously, here are four reasons (backed by SCIENCE) you should take a break from social media...
1. Lonely People Spend More Time on Social Media
One study from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee showed that Facebook actually attracts lonely people, which makes absolute sense, because you'd think that Facebook would make you feel more connected to others. But the study also found that the lonelier someone is, the more time they spend on Facebook. As one expert put it, "Lonely individuals who are shy or have low social support may turn to Facebook to compensate for their lack of social skills and/or social networks in face-to-face settings." Rather than compensating for real-world social interactions through social media, challenge yourself to phone up an old friend, or invite a new friend out to a movie. As hard as it can be to put yourself out there, hanging out with friends is a healthy (and much more fun) way to combat loneliness and work on those social skills, one hangout at at time.
2. Social Media Makes You At Greater Risk for Depression
Another study done at the University of Pittsburgh surveyed adults about their social media use, and found that the more time people spent sharing, liking, tweeting, and hashtagging, the greater their risk of depression. One of the reasons for this link is that social media can act as a measurement of self-worth. Those who look for validation in the form of likes, re-tweets, and follows were more likely to have their self-esteem take a nose dive, which, over time, can lead to depression. And considering that 2017 gave us all enough of a reason to be depressed through the news alone, subtracting one more potential factor is definitely a good thing.
3. Social Media Apps Drive You To Be More Competitive (In an Unhealthy Way)
When scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, it's almost impossible not to feel a twang of jealousy when seeing a friend post about a happy relationship, or vacation, or cool outing that you clearly weren't invited to. Even a good-looking selfie from someone you know can make you start comparing yourself to them, and force your self-esteem into a downward spiral you never would have had if you hadn't seen that friend's cute selfie (which, by the way, took 30 takes, four different filters, and 60 different "good lighting" angles to get).
As much as people love to share the wonderful things going on in their life on social media, it's only a snapshot and not the whole picture. Still, even if we understand this, we can't help but compare the bad parts of our lives to the seemingly "OMG AMAZING #BLESSED" parts of others. Taking a break from the scroll will allow you to stop comparing your life to the "snapshot" lives of others, and you'll actually be able to appreciate all the great things you have going for you, instead of feeling "less than".
4. You Might Realize You've Become Addicted to Social Media
Have you ever taken a break from social media before? We're not talking about a day or two here and there — we're talking about a week or more. Most of us would think about it, and then have to say no.
We haven't actively taken a break from social media EVER, because it's become as day-to-day an activity to us as brushing our teeth. That's kind of scary to think about, because for many of us, the act of opening up the Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram app has become habit. One second we have a moment of boredom, and ten minutes later we realize we've been refreshing a social media app and have no idea how we came to be following this cute dog who goes around posing in cute little outfits at hipster restaurants every day, but now we feel like we know him.
Guys, this addiction thing is BAD. If you think you can just quit social media whenever you want, it's just that you just don't want to, then you might truly be addicted. So why not re-train your brain, take control of those "boring" moments, and challenge yourself to sit in the monotony that is life. It won't be easy to live social-media-free, but after coming back from break and heading into the new year, you will most definitely find yourself rejuvenated, more "in the moment", and hopefully with a little more self-confidence than FOMO.
Are you planning on taking a break from social media this break? Or at least cutting down? Let us know @Smosh!