Too often I go out to dinner with my friends and, before the bread even gets to the table, at least half of the group is on their phone. They could be texting their tech-savvy grandma or commenting on how “CUTE!” their best friend looked last night, but either way I know they are not interested in my hilarious story about what my dog ate this morning. I don’t want to feel left out, so I pick up my phone and begin to scroll through Faceboook.
Our increased fascination with the online world can be a great tool; however, it is important to find a balance between our “online” life and the life we are actually living.
Social media has fostered a new era of connectedness. People from all over the world can talk in real time and develop connections that would not have been possible without the social platforms we have today. Not only does the online world provide a space for social interactions, it also provides a priceless method for solving problems. For example, students from the U.S. who are passionate about improving human rights can connect with like-minded students across the world to share ideas and experiences.
Reality vs. Online “Reality”
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook can be misleading. Most of the pictures that people post only portray the positive parts of their lives. Being constantly exposed to the exciting, beautiful moments of other people’s lives can be discouraging and even depressing. It makes it more difficult for people to find moments of happiness in their own lives and to be content with how they are living.
When I scroll through my Instagram feed I see photos of Hawaiian beaches, hikers on beautiful trails, deliciously healthy bowls of food, as well as tons of chic clothing companies. However when I think about what my life actually looks like, sitting at my kitchen table in an uncomfortable position, thinking about all of the work I should be doing, I can’t help but feel bad about myself, my location, and my activities. I think that this is one of the biggest issues young people, and even adults, face when constantly exposed to social media. It is important to realize that you can go outside, hang out with friends, and make your own awesome experiences.
All About Balance
All things considered, we shouldn't all cancel our Facebook accounts, sign out of Twitter, and delete our Instagram profiles because, as I said, there are huge advantages to maintaining a social media presence. If we abandoned social media entirely, I wouldn't be able to share this important message with you right now. We must learn how to navigate the online world in a way that will benefit us most. It is crucial to be critical of what you see online and to understand that the most important experiences are those which occur in your real life.
Reconnect With Real Life!
- Talk to your friends about the role social media plays in your personal lives and friendships.
- Observe how often friends or family are on their phones. What about you?
- Get outside, read a book, walk your dog! Take a break from social media and find activities that you love. Enjoy your life without documenting it.