A post by Katie.
I was stood in a queue the other day when the lady in front of me was asked for her e-mail address, she replied “I don’t have an e-mail address”. I had been talking to my daughter at the time, but on overhearing this I couldn’t help but stop in my tracks, I actually had to remind myself to pick my jaw up off the floor. To be honest I don’t think I was the only one who was a little taken aback, the receptionist took a moment to take in what she had heard and adjust her response accordingly. What surprised me the most though, was how inspired I felt by this lady. To live a life without e-mail and all that, I’m not sure I even believed it was possible up until that point, but I imagined it to be heaven.
It was during my final few years at primary school when we had our first IT suite built, it was a time when it wasn’t just the students learning about this new technology, but the teachers too. I remember dial up internet, it was limited back then too, which in hindsight was not a bad thing! Social media and online messaging were sprung upon me through no real choice of my own, it was the “in thing”, everyone was doing it. It was new and exciting. But if I had known what I do now, I’d have never signed up.
I can’t solely blame social media for my poor mental health, I think there are a lot of contributing factors, but I certainly don’t think it has helped me. The fact that teen suicide rates have increased alongside social media usage is a sad fact, but one that I personally can easily see why.
Because some of us have grown up with social media as the norm, we seem to find it horrendous to even think about living without it. We have become so reliant on it as a way of communicating with our friends and family, yet I don’t feel like it is bringing people closer together, just further apart. All of the likes, shares, comments, photos online, they could all be gone in an instant, and I can’t invest my time into that anymore. There is so, so much more to life beyond this screen.
I’m not saying that the online world doesn’t provide us with any benefits, there are many. But lately I’ve been struggling to keep a healthy balance with social media, after all, they employ tactics used in casinos to keep you addicted, so I doubt I am the only one to feel this way. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing for everyone, but I have decided to ditch social media once and for all, because after far too many hours spent scrolling online which have only left me feeling worse about myself and my life, I’ve had enough. It doesn’t feel worth it to me, and I don’t want to look back on my life when I am grey and old and regret hours wasted on social media which brought little to my life in return.
Without the constant curated competition that social media is becoming, you can really focus on what is important to you. Remember that you are in control, not social media, so if it isn’t making you feel good about yourself, don’t be afraid to ditch it too, be it for a week, month or permanently, you will soon see that life goes on without it.
We will hear back from Katie in a few months to see how life has changed for her without social media.