Once there were resorts and boutique hotels, which took pride in their high-speed Wi-Fi connection. They sold holidays with ‘free Wi-Fi’ as an incentive to attract customers. You could get Wi-Fi at cruising altitudes, 4G cell service on Mount Everest and international data plans for just about every hillside or village in the world. While it was all good for a long time, millennials have now started feeling the pinch. The Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) has taken a toll. The technology that allowed us to stay connected is now our biggest nemesis. It’s difficult to consider a time when social media sites like Facebook and Instagram didn’t exist. For millennials, these social channels aren’t just digital hangout spots; they are news sources and a means of communication. The average person will spend more than five years of their lives on social media, according to a study by marketing agency Mediakix. So it is no surprise that we have this definitive urge to check on a celeb’s airport look or be the first one to tweet about an earthquake.
But the constant usage has had its negative impact, from anxiety related to FOMO to sleepless nights due to reading notifications. While most aspects of social media can be beneficial to our lives, there’s something to be said about when something which was supposed to be a means of entertainment starts affecting you negatively.
Recently, Olympic gold medalist Aly Raisman spoke out about her own experience with social media. She admitted how scrolling through images of seemingly flawless people and lifestyles can cause an unhealthy habit of comparing oneself to another person’s heavily filtered highlight reel. The popular gymnast, who is also recognised as an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual violence, admitted that she, too, has compared herself to models and TV stars who appear to have the “perfect” body. As a way of coping, she decided to take a social media detox in order to re-evaluate her definition of beauty.
Instagram and Twitter aren’t all funny memes or cute baby videos. There’s a dark side to social media that can affect youngsters about how they depict themselves on and offline. It is the reason why the conversation surrounding how to do a social media detox needs to be had. And when someone like Kim Kardashian, who made much of a career out of social media, urges people to unsubscribe to social media it comes as a serious warning. A few months back, the reality star preached the anti-social message reflecting on her social media blackout following a harrowing attack in Paris where she was robbed and held at gunpoint. The selfie queen, with more than 100 million followers, refrained from posting for three months—costing her an estimated $3,00,000 per sponsored post.
She isn’t the only celebrity to cut down on social media. Her husband, Kanye West, was inactive on social media for a few months. In July, Ed Sheeran quit Twitter for a long time because he was tired of trolls. Last year, actress Leslie Jones left Twitter for two weeks after trolls harassed the star with racist and sexist comments. Actress Emma Watson compares her daily social intake to counting calories maintaining that a balanced social media life is as important as a balanced diet. Separating yourself from social media for a day, or even a few hours, can be super beneficial to your mental health, to your relationship with others, and most importantly, the relationship you have with yourself. For anyone opting to stay out of social media the rules are simple.
Open up your phone and take a few minutes to scroll through the accounts you are following on Instagram or Twitter. Ask yourself if you really think you need to keep tabs on these specific accounts in the first place. And then keep unfollowing. It’s the best gift you can give yourself this Christmas. Think about it!