Going 3 Weeks Without Social Media


(Picture by Lydia Roseman/Pathfinder)

People often say that this generation has an addiction to social media. From constantly refreshing our Instagram feed to scrolling on Tiktok for hours, it’s not surprising that they eat up hours of our day. Sometimes we hear about social media detoxes and how people’s lives change by deleting their social media accounts. Some people romanticize it, making it seem like it’s the solution to all your life’s problems. I decided to try this social media “detox” for three weeks to see how much of a difference it would make in my day to day schedule.

Here’s a little background before we dive into my experience: I got rid of all my social media platforms during quarantine last year, and was able to go a month without any of it. I definitely saw a lot of change and felt more focused overall. Even though disconnecting did make me feel a bit isolated, it drove me to focus on other important things. When I decided to try this detox again, I knew it would be a very different experience since we weren’t stuck at home anymore. Now, I was going to school five days a week and my FOMO (fear of missing out) was sky high, especially after the past year. I was struggling with balancing school, athletics and work, and thought that maybe deleting social media would solve my problems again. 

The first week was difficult, because I found myself automatically reaching for my phone whenever I was bored or not talking to anyone. I had nothing to do on my phone but go through my camera roll or refresh my Gmail, only to be met with a handful of school emails. At these times, I tried to read a book or meditate on my thoughts for a while. 

During week two, events like senior night and birthdays almost tempted me into redownloading my apps. I even asked my friend to tell me if anyone had posted anything interesting. This was probably the hardest week since people kept asking if I had seen this person’s story or that person’s post. However, I was able to make it through and reminded myself that I was not missing out on much, since I was able to see my friends almost everyday and have face to face conversations. 

When week three came along, my urge to be in the know was a lot less overwhelming. Sometimes, I even forgot that it was supposed to be a challenge. Of course there were times when I wanted to take a quick look, but the fact that this was the last week of the challenge motivated me to push through. I stopped focusing on what I was “missing out on” and that made a big difference. 

When looking back on the detox challenge, it was evident that deleting social media didn’t magically solve any of my problems this time. I was still behind in school, stressed, and still managed to lose focus by scrolling through my camera roll. I realized that in order to be less distracted, I had to be more intentional with my time and force myself to finish my tasks. This goes to show that even though deleting social media CAN help you be more present and focused, it is most definitely not a magical solution. However, during these three weeks, I had more time to reflect and make choices that I may not have otherwise made. Social media on its own isn’t a bad thing, and detoxing from social media will not do any good if you’re not intentional with how you spend your time.