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Social Media Detox

By Poppy Atkinson-Gibson

I am, I would say a fairly normal teenager/young adult. And so, that means that I spend a hideous amount of time on my phone, or specifically social media.

Despite my use of app limits and screen time I religiously press the 'ignore' button when the time up message flashes onto my screen. 15 minutes more won't hurt, I think to myself as 4am rolls around.

It's easy to get sucked into your phone and the online world when stuck at home with little to do. You can't see friends and family and so online becomes the only way to contact them and stay tethered to something that exists outside the four walls of your home. But slowly, insidiously you aren't just using your phone to WhatsApp your gran, or FaceTime your friends. Slowly you start to just trawl Instagram endlessly for hours, huddled up in your bed with the curtains closed, surrounded by crumbs from the second packet of chocolate digestives you snuck upstairs.

That was pretty much the state I came to when I decided enough was enough.

The red notifications didn't look enticing but headache inducing. The weight of the phone in my hand corresponded to the weight I felt when attached to it all day and sharply contrasted the freedom I felt without it.

I put my phone back down and went to watch some trashy TV with my sister and talk to my parents. I felt a lot better.

After that I made a conscious decision to simply not switch my phone on. That way there was no temptation to check it. I have stuck to that for a few days now and it feels good. I'm finding I'm more able to settle to work, I'm less irritable and I'm spending more quality time with my family.

I'm still on my laptop, I won't deny it and so I have access to Facebook which is useful for staying up to date with my college and other opportunities such as online theatre and writing for student newspapers. But it doesn't have the same pull as a phone and I'm keeping it strictly business.

You don't need your phone. Corona, whilst locking us all down has provided us with a time to stop, take a breath and re-evaluate. And I'm embracing that opportunity to prioritise things I'd forgotten about like black and white films, reading for pleasure, gardening and running. There's no shame in realising you may be slightly addicted to your phone. I'll admit it. I was and I am. And, it's really hard to break the cycle but with the world paused and everything slowing down it's a perfect time to separate yourself from the screen and have a go.


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