Most people have some type of access to the internet. Therefore, they have access to social media. We all use social media according to our needs. However, we often get carried away by the importance we give those sites in our lives and we forget the best way to socialize, talking to people IRL (in real life).
That’s where unplugging comes into play. People who unplug from most, if not all social media sites do it for different reasons; some do it to stop something that looks like an addiction. A study by Susan Moeller at the University of Maryland asked 200 college students to abstain from all media for 24 hours. After those 24 hours, students experienced symptoms that are often associated with the withdrawal symptoms of addiction.
Another valid reason to unplug yourself from social media is to see how much it impacts your life or just to see what it feels like to be “off the grid” for a week. After that week, many people who took the challenge believed that it helped them have a better social interaction with people on a day-to-day basis. I believe that everybody should try this challenge at least once to realize how much does your life depends on these websites and apps. However, I believe there should be some exceptions. As the world becomes more globalized and diverse, many people like me have made the decision to pursue their career or goals in other parts of the world. That’s where these websites and apps are helpful and often necessary.
I know that I wouldn’t be able to unplug myself from social media because that’s my main method of communication to my family. Nevertheless, there are ways I could complete the challenge without sacrificing my family communication. Social media can be a really powerful tool for everyone, but, as most things in life, it can be harmful if you don’t have control over it and use it as your as your main reason of communication rather than a connectivity tool.
Snapchat is a good example of this dilemma, the app and its purpose are: send photos to your friends. Due to its simplicity, the app spread like wildfire and everyone started using it. However, people quickly started using the app too much and they began using it as their main source of communication and a way to avoid the famous F.O.M.O. (fear of missing out). This ridiculous fear can be the tipping point that leads to a social media addiction and will make you want to check your phone as much as possible. We as a society should learn that it’s okay not to know everything and it’s okay to be unaware of every event happening around us. The quicker we accept that we can’t have control over everything and that we will inevitably miss out on certain events, the easier it will be for us to unplug from time to time and have time for something much more important — ourselves.