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Have you ever thought about how the online world affects us and why we should take a digital detox? Social media has become the number one activity on the internet. People are becoming more addicted to social media causing mental and physical issues. Taking a break from social media can help improve anybody’s life.

A digital detox is a period when an individual becomes disconnected from social or online media. This can include reducing the amount of time spent on social media or disconnecting completely.

  • The younger generations are more likely to become addicted to social media because they have more knowledge and are more familiar with smartphones.
  •  “25% of smartphone owners ages 18-44 say they can’t recall the last time their smartphone wasn’t next to them” (Cooper, 2013).

 Becoming addicted to social media sites and applications can impact a person’s self-esteem, time management, and work ethic. Being on social media constantly can influence a person to compare their life with another person. Instead of “looking at the glass half full,” people can start to look at the glass “half empty.” Because they are seeing someone else having “more” or “better” than them constantly from social media.

Spending too much time on social media can also impact self-image by comparing to others they see online. They may have a few people on their social media that are thinner, prettier, or more fit and start to self-critique themselves.

Excessive social media presence can also cause anxiety, depression, weight gain, unhealthy eating, and lack of exercise, which can impact one’s self-image. The online world can affect a person’s time management and work ethic. Have you ever thought, “I am going to check Facebook real fast before I go to bed,” and then an hour later, you are finally going to bed? Studies have shown 1 out of 8 people check social media apps as the last thing they do before they go to bed, keeping it within arm’s reach while they sleep, and the first thing when they wake up. It is okay to do this if it is not interfering with one’s daily function and schedule. People have woken up tired and have even been late to work because of spending too much time on social media.

Things to remember when on social media:

  • You decide on your happiness.
  • You know yourself best, so do what you think you should instead of letting others influence your thoughts.
  • Someone else’s life may look perfect but may not always be that way in real life. It may just be a “show.”
  • Limit your time – set a specific time frame for how long you want to spend time there.

 How do we know when to take a digital detox?  If a person finds themselves becoming less happy/content with themselves or their life, depressed, anxious, or always tired, they should take a break, even if it is just for a day or a week. A digital detox does not have to be a specific time frame. It can be as long or short as the person wants it to be.

Studies have shown spending less time online can help one to have better self-esteem and body-image, more optimistic, happier, and healthier. Spending less time online can help one have more peace of mind and balance.

Additional benefits of taking a digital detox
 

Written By: Sabrina Roley, Family Life Intern, Family Consumer Sciences, Eastern Illinois University

  

References:

Andreassen, C.S., Pallensen, S., & Griffiths, M. D. (2016). Addictive Behaviors the relationship between addictive use of social media, narcissism, and self-esteem: Findings from a large national survey. Elsevier.

Cooper, B. B. (2013). 10 Surprising Social Media Strategies That Will Make You Rethink Your Social Strategy. Work Smart  

Syvertsen, T., & Enli, G. (2019). Digital Detox: Media resistance and the promise of authenticity. Convergence

Velthoven, M. H. van, Powell, J., & Powell, G. (2018). Problematic smartphone use: Digital approaches to an emerging public health problem. Digital Health, 4(1-9).