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You're not alone if you've been thinking about quitting social media. A growing number of people are choosing to disconnect from their favourite platforms in an effort to stay more focused on the real world and improve their mental health. But is it worth it? Here are some pros and cons of quitting social media.
1. It can improve your focus. Social media is typically something we check periodically throughout the day. Due to its addictive nature, once you check social media and start scrolling, it is hard to stop causing you to spend a lot of your day on these platforms. And, after each use, you have to regain focus which can take some time, causing less productivity and a lower quality of work. Also, “social media essentially trains our brains to look for a distraction after just a few minutes,” says Jonathan Vieker, a University Professor. So, even when you are not on social media, you are searching for distractions, which reduces your focus.
So by quitting social media, you regain the time you typically spend scrolling through or checking the platforms. Also, your day will no longer be divided into fragments, allowing you to stay focused on your work for longer, increasing your productivity and quality of work. And after a while, you will retrain your brain to keep your focus for longer without looking for distractions.
2. It can reduce the ability to compare yourself to others. On social media, edited pictures and idealized videos bombard your feed, making it easy to compare yourself to others. You may compare your looks, weight, clothes, lifestyle, eating habits or wealth, among many other things. These comparisons pressure you to look, dress or act like those in your highlight reel. Comparing yourself to these idealized posts every time you open social media harms your mental health.
So by quitting social media, you will reduce your comparisons to others. Although you may still compare yourself to others in real life, you won't be bombarded by every detail of these people’s lives whenever you turn on your phone, which will increase your self-confidence and help improve your mental health.
3. It can reduce your fear of missing out. The fear of missing out has become more popular with the invention of technology, and a recent study even found that “FOMO is experienced by 56% of social media users.” Social media heightens the fear of missing out because of the frequent posts of friends and family members at events you were not invited to or couldn’t attend. Although you will not be invited or be able to attend every one of your friend and family’s events, it does not mean you need to watch them have fun without you.
By quitting social media, you will reduce your fear of missing out by taking away the posts of every event that you couldn’t attend. So, instead of dreading seeing your friends' posts worried about what you missed out on, you can live your life and have a stronger relationship with your friends as you will resent them less for what they do without you.
4. It may reduce your screen time. A 2022 study revealed that, on average, Americans spend “2 hours and 54 minutes on their phones each day”, while another 2022 study found that North Americans spend “2 hours and 6 minutes” on social media every day. So, most of the time people spend on their phones is on social media.
By taking away social media, there is less to do on your phone. Therefore, you will be on your phone less than when you had social media. So, taking away social media will reduce your screen time. Also, “too much screen time can lead to obesity, sleep problems, chronic neck and back problems, depression, and anxiety.” So by reducing your screen time, you may become mentally and physically healthier.
1. It can be lonely. Social media, for many people, is becoming the primary place to share information, post about their lives and connect with others. Not being on social media may cause you to feel disconnected from your friends and family. Since many group chats are formed on social media, you may miss out on group connections and plans. You can still connect with others through calling and texting, but social media does make it easier to stay up to date. So, you may miss out on some events, updates, news, and trends.
If you quit social media, ensure to stay connected with friends in other ways like calling, video calling, texting and seeing each other in person. Filling your life with different ways to connect will make the transition easier and allow you not to feel as lonely.
2. When you take away the bad, you also take away the good. Although social media can harm your mental health, it can also help. Social media provides an easily accessible place to connect with others whenever you need it. Also, although many people use social media to spread negativity and create impossible beauty standards, many others use social media for good. On social media, people spread awareness of body positivity, mental health, and other stigmatized issues. Also, social media can help spread information about world events to help keep you connected to the world, but make sure it is a trustworthy account before believing the news you see.
So just like anything, social media has positives and negatives, but by quitting social media, you take away the bad and the good. Despite this, you may still believe that social media may be your best option. However, keep in mind that there are other options which we will discuss later on.
3. It can affect your career. Many businesses use social media to connect with their employees and share important information in one easily accessible place. Not being on social media may cause you to miss important reminders, invitations to events and connections with your bosses and co-workers. Also, social media platforms like LinkedIn display your accomplishments with your jobs and can help you find new jobs. People are constantly posting job listings which you get notifications for if you have an account, but without one, you may miss the job posting. Since many companies use LinkedIn as their primary source of looking for new employees, by not using LinkedIn, you are reducing your chance of getting a new job when you are looking for one.
If you still choose to quit all social media platforms, make sure you have other ways to receive reminders from work to stay connected and have resources to make the best out of your job search.
4. You may feel left out of trends. Social media has many trends like food, clothing, videos, pictures, decor, and hobbies. Although looking at blogs and watching the news may allow you to pick up on some of these trends, you will likely miss out on many others. If you are someone who likes to follow along with current trends, this may make you feel disconnected. However, missing the video trends and viral social media videos is something that likely will make you feel disconnected whether you like following trends or not. When people around you have all seen the same or similar videos that you have never seen, they have a connection without you. Being excluded from their bond over these videos may make you feel isolated from your friends.
If you still want to quit social media but want to keep up with trends, find another resource like a good blog or website that discusses the trends you want to follow. Also, if you ever feel isolated from your friends when they are talking about a video or post you have not seen, simply ask them to show you so you can be a part of the conversation.
1. You can reduce your social media time and platforms. Instead of quitting social media, you can reduce the time you spend on social media or reduce the number of social media platforms you are on. For example, if you typically spend three hours a day on social media, try to reduce it to an hour a day. Or if you have Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and Snapchat, but you never use Facebook or TikTok, then quit those platforms.
Tips for reducing your social media platforms and time spent on them:
2. You can try social media detoxes. Social media detoxes allow you to take a break from social media to improve your mental health. There are many different social media detoxes and different amounts of time you can take off from social media. You can take off a day every week, a couple of weeks every year, or anything else that suits you best.
3. You can use BeTimeful to help. At BeTimeful, we know that quitting social media can be tricky and is not always the best answer. Instead of quitting social media, use BeTimeful to reduce the negatives of social media while keeping the benefits. BeTimeful blocks your distracting and harmful social media feed while allowing you to still message people on the platforms. Whether you need to permanently remove your NewsFeed or just want a break from it while staying connected, BeTimeful is here to help. So download BeTimeful today to give yourself a break from your negative feed while staying connected with those who matter the most.
Check out BeTimeful's other resources for quitting social media:
Check out BeTimeful's other resources to help you balence social media with your life:
“Average Time Spent Daily on Social Media (Latest 2022 Data).” BroadbandSearch, https://www.broadbandsearch.net/blog/average-daily-time-on-social-media.
Mosley, Aris. “The Negative Effects of Screen Time for Adults and Children - Blog - Valleywise Health.” Blog – Valleywise Health, 10 October 2020, https://blog.valleywisehealth.org/negative-effect-of-screen-time-adults-children/.
“35+ Mind-Blowing FOMO Statistics - [June 2022].” AppsThatDeliver, 1 June 2022, https://appsthatdeliver.com/insights/fomo-statistics.
Vieker, Jonathan. “The Pros and Cons of Quitting Social Media.” Jonathan Vieker, 8 February 2019, https://jonathanvieker.com/the-pros-and-cons-of-quitting-social-media/.
Wheelwright, Trevor. “2022 Cell Phone Usage Statistics: How Obsessed Are We?” Reviews.org, 24 January 2022, https://www.reviews.org/mobile/cell-phone-addiction/.
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