Have you ever been sitting at a dinner table and looked up to see everyone staring at their phones? I think everyone has been in this situation and sadly, this has almost become the norm.
Research shows that using phones at the dinner table is not the actual problem. It is in fact what people are doing on their phones. Sending a text or answering a call can be brief and overall not a problem. The issue stems from social media use.
As of today, there are about 1.65 billion social media accounts around the world. And that is not to count for the millions that are created each day.
Social media users access their apps an average of 17 times a day. That is more than one time every waking hour. Though the most surprising factor is that the majority of those checking social media so frequently are between the ages of 25-54.
The time spent online is time that could be spent doing numerous other activities, whether it be school, work or just connecting with others in person. Many people are so consumed with social media that they spend hours before bed looking at their screen, completely unaware of the time spent online. As a result many avid social media users get much less sleep than those who are offline.
That leads to another issue with social media usage with children and teenagers. They spend so much time interacting online, it enables some of them from knowing how to interact in person, face-to-face.
Social media has also been the cause of numerous driving accidents. As of 2012, 24% of drivers admitted to using social media while driving. And since 2012, social media activity has only increased possibly leading to a higher percentage of distracted driving.
Not only is driving an issue but walking is as well. There have been numerous times where just walking across a college campus I see peoples’ eyes glued to their screen, paying no attention to where they’re walking or who they are walking into.
In the beginning of 2017, after watching an old viral youtube video (attached below), I decided to give up social media. I realized how much time I was spending online rather than connected to those around me. Instead of experiencing the world, my eyes were constantly glued to my screen.
At the start of this, I planned on only giving up social media for a few weeks at most. Now, it has been almost three months and I cannot imagine going back.
In the time spent offline, my life has changed entirely. I find things to do that don’t involve my phone or my laptop. I have learned to communicate and interact with others face-to-face in a better way. The best thing is I have used my free time to go outside and explore; whether it be hikes or road trips. I no longer stay cooped up inside staring blankly at my screen.
It was not until I put social media aside that I realized how much time I had been wasting.