During lockdown the amount of time I’ve been spending on screens and on social media has gone up dramatically.
I’ve felt myself getting into an unproductive slump, where I spend all day doing nothing despite the endless uni work piling up and all the hobbies I’ve been meaning to get into. There’s not much to do at the moment, but to get out of bad habits I decided to try and cut down my screen-time by doing a social media detox.
We’ve probably all read about the benefits of less time on social media. Social media detoxes allow more time to work on hobbies and other projects. You can feel more in control of your digital habits and get into a better daily routine and sleep schedule. It can improve your mental health, lead to less comparison to others on social media and leave you feeling more connected to the ‘real world’ and in-person relationships.
So I tried it out... and I kind of failed miserably. Even with deleting Facebook, TikTok and Youtube off my phone, I only lasted about two days. Youtube and TikTok are probably more content platforms than social media, but I included them in the detox because I waste a lot of time on them. I feel like TikTok is especially addictive, I’ll think I’ve been on there for 20 minutes and I check the time and an hour has passed.
While I did read more than usual and I listened to more podcasts and music during the detox, I did feel the boredom creep up on me. I’m not even sure if it reduced my screen time that much because I just turned to watching TV instead. After a while it did begin to feel like a bit of a futile exercise, unnecessarily depriving myself of the social interaction and entertainment I was getting from social media. I mean what’s the point of trying to be more engaged in real life when we’re stuck at home?
The importance of social media as a way to connect with others has been heightened during lockdown, as it’s become basically the only way to keep in contact with people. Even before lockdown social media was essential for many people to maintain relationships they otherwise wouldn’t be able to maintain, like long-distance relationships or friends or family who live far away. Although it obviously doesn’t compare to the real thing, keeping in touch with people virtually does give us some of that social interaction we’re all craving and can really boost your mood during this time.
I’m all for a digital detox as they can be really beneficial, but I’m not sure if I’d recommend doing it during lockdown. Allow yourself the simple pleasures during this time of talking to friends on social media and watching one too many TikTok videos.
I think I’ll give a social media detox another shot again when lockdown’s over, when the alternative is hanging out with friends in real life, trying out new cafes and restaurants, exploring new places, and having a job and uni to go to. But I think for now I won’t limit my social media use too much and just aim for moderation.
Writer’s Bio: Lili Tisch-Bostock is a student studying a double degree of Media and International Studies. She is interested in reading, writing and learning languages and enjoys art exhibitions and watching Netflix high school dramas.