This article contains opinion.
Social media can both enhance and diminish a college student’s life.
Many people hesitate to admit that they spend an extended period of time each day on social media, as not everyone wants their lives to be consumed by their phones.
Taking a social media break or even quitting social media completely is an option students have considered to escape the grasp that their phones have on them.
“I think everyone would benefit from taking a break from social media,” Hannah Knotts (freshman, undecided) said.
Teens are spending upwards of nine hours a day in front of screens, according to the West Virginia Education Association, and college students aren’t too different.
“Taking a break from social media would provide extra time toward myself as well as toward other things like reading and school work,” Isabelle Jabbour (freshman, geology) said.
Social media gives students the opportunity to see what their peers, friends and family are doing at any given time. While some consider this to be a good thing, others would disagree.
Having the ability to view images and videos of what people are doing can spark jealousy and envy, which doesn’t help stay focused when you’re swamped with a lot of school work.
“Social media is nothing but showing your life to other people, and it’s a social standard,” Knotts said. “The world doesn’t always need to see your business.”
Students want to be accepted by their peers, and social media assists them. The number of followers, likes and retweets you gain shows your peers and friends exactly how popular you are.
When students get caught up in how much attention their accounts get, it can begin to negatively influence their mental health status.
“I think social media is very overwhelming and affects things like self-esteem and mental health,” Jabbour said.
For a lot of students, checking social media has become an automatic reflex. It’s now an instinct to check and refresh social media feeds.
“It can be time consuming and brainwashing,” Knotts said.
The amount of time students spend on social media could be used in better ways. Many students tend to check their social media feeds during class time, which is when they should be learning. Some people even check their social media while participating in more perilous activities such as driving.
“I think that as a society we forget that there’s a world outside our phones,” Jabbour said.
Celebrities who many students are aware of and follow on social media, like Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Taylor Swift and Cardi B, have all either taken breaks from social media or deleted their accounts for a period of time. Like some of the students, these celebrities were affected by what people said on social media. When common celebrity role models quit or take breaks from social media, it inspires others to do the same as well.
Even though students spend so much of their time on their phones, they know that their time could be utilized more efficiently and that time spent away from their phones is healthy.
“It’s very refreshing and relaxing when you’re not on your phone and you’re aware of your outside surroundings and environment,” Knotts said.
Avoiding social media would help students regain confidence and self-esteem in themselves and how they live their lives.
“Sometimes I need to detox and just be by myself and not let what others think or say affect me,” Ny’zjriona Allen (freshman, criminology) said.