The never ending content on social media platforms are a cause of endless scrolling for many people. There is no way to watch all the videos in the world. Even if you spend hours each day scrolling through, you will inevitably be left with the same conclusion: keep scrolling for more.
I opened my phone to check my screentime and found my social media screen time to be 9 hours that day. That solely consisted of the hours I had spent on social media. What could I have done in those 9 hours? I probably could have read a book. I could have cleaned my room. I could have even worked towards some of my publications deadlines that were starting to pile on. Instead, I scrolled watching edits of Andrew Garfield in SpiderMan. I watched other people finish their homework, go for a drive, and clean their rooms, while I had not left my bed for hours. The funny thing is, after you watch so many videos, you start to feel like you’ve been out in the world with the people that are posting.
So why do we spend so much time scrolling if we know that we will never be done getting “caught up” on videos or posts?
With remote learning, it was even more tempting for students to pick up their phones and direct their attention to social media rather than their classes. Now that we are back to in-person learning, by the time we get home and take a quick break, it is almost 5pm. Assuming we all have hobbies, extracurricular activities, and outside responsibilities, the limited time we have left before we fall asleep, we are pretty drained. Again, it becomes very easy to be consumed and drawn to our phones to do what is easiest: resort back to social media once more.
It’s easy to go down a rabbit hole of fan edits or ASMR cleaning videos. The quick 5 minutes you want to spend as a “break” suddenly turns into hours and hours of more scrolling. The more time that passes, the harder it becomes to break away from this task.
I realized that I needed to find a solution. My first thought was to set limits on my phone to remind me how much time had passed. After some research, I realized that I could lock specific apps after a certain amount of time. Some people might think this won’t help because you can just click one button and that notification or reminder vanishes. However, the reminder sometimes snaps us back into reality and helps us control that urge.
The harsh reality is that we tend to forget how unnecessary it is to stay up to date on social media. Why does it matter what Kylie Jenner did that day or what LeBron James ate before his game? This constant need to know not only what celebrities are doing, but also our peers or just about anyone we have ever had contact with contributes to the grip social media has on us.
Everything is great in moderation, however I don’t think any of us are giving up social media for good any time soon. It definitely is important for us to take a step back from time to time and process just how much time and energy we spend online, and how we could have redirected that dedication elsewhere.
The first step of overcoming any addiction is acceptance. Once we are aware of how attached we are, we can begin working towards solutions.