I Quit Social Media.

Here’s why it’s the best decision I’ve ever made.


Photo by Gabby Burgess

I do miss sharing my photos in all honesty, but the constant need I felt to share everything, was all the more reason for me to log-off.

The average high school football game takes two and a half hours. Within two and a half hours we make memories that last a lifetime, ones we tend to look back on fondly, ones that will be passed down to future generations. A lot can happen in two and a half hours, however, the average person spends this time scrolling through social media, and up until about two months ago, I was one of them.

   I got Instagram when I was 10 years old, TikTok and Facebook followed when I was 14. I would spend hours scrolling through thousands of posts. Some come from close friends and family, some from famous celebrities, and even from complete strangers. I used these platforms to share what was going on in my own life, stay in touch with my closest companions who quite literally lived an ocean away, and just as a pastime whenever I was bored. “Well, I don’t have anything better to do,” was the excuse I told myself time and time again for the almost seven years I spent on these sites, but that was far from the truth. 

  As I mentioned earlier, studies show the average person spends two and a half hours on social media, I probably spent a little bit closer to three. I’d say about a fourth of that time was spent posting my own photos or sharing someone else’s, another fourth was spent messaging my friends, and the other hour and a half were spent mindlessly scrolling. I could maybe truly recall ten posts I saw within the past year, thus proving that my time was not well spent.

   I’m not here to tell you to make a lifestyle change, nor to convince you that social media is all bad, because, in all honesty, social media at its source is beneficial, but the role it’s begun to play in our lives and the influence it has on our world is not.

   In December, I had gotten to a point where I was feeling very lost in my relationship with Christ (I am a Christian and my relationship with God is something I value very deeply). At that moment I felt like I was too busy, I had too much going on and didn’t have enough time to commit to pursuing that relationship, one of the most important things in my life. As I began to think through my commitments and how much time they took each day/week I was able to realize that in all honesty, my schedule wasn’t that overloaded. Once I factored in the time I spend at school, church, and my extracurriculars, along with the obligations I had to my family and friends, I had enough time to not only complete my schoolwork, but also make sure I ate, got a good nights rest, and still pursue my relationship with God in the way I felt I was lacking. Why then did it feel like there wasn’t enough time in the day? Looking at my screen time gave me a clear answer. 

   My average screen time in the month of December was five hours, which is still a half-hour less than the national average. Three of these hours were spent wasting my time on social media. Scrolling through the photos of people I didn’t know and whose faces I will likely never see again. Three hours that could have been spent bettering myself, three hours I could have spent with my family, hours I could have spent learning about my creator and growing closer to him. 

  This realization shook me to my core. I had been wasting, at minimum, three hours of every day I lived. If we look at this in the perspective of a year that is nearly 46 days spent on social media a year. 46 days of a life that we are told goes by in a flash, spent focusing on mindless likes, followers, and comments. Over a month spent looking at the photo of a stranger who doesn’t even know you exist.

This graphic compares the percentage of each day the average American spends on social media versus how much they spend talking with others.

  Immediately I wanted to remove these toxic apps from my life. I want to focus on growing myself and a person and as a Christian rather than my phone, rather than if so and so saw my story, rather than the nice comment I got from a friend, instead of who goes on my close friend’s list and who doesn’t. I wanted to focus on living. So after I came up with about a thousand excuses why getting rid of social media wasn’t worth it, and the reasons that excuses were insignificant, I did.

  So what’s the big change, why is it so much better to be without social media than with? From both sides of the spectrum, I can tell you that my life has completely changed. It’s easier for me to commit to starting new habits because I now have no decent reason not to, I don’t have any mindless scrolling on my phone that could keep me from bettering myself in the ways I’d so long hoped for. Without social media, I get fewer headaches than I did before. I have what is called astigmatism in both my eyes (it just means I need glasses to see things properly and am sensitive to light changes now and then) which is caused by blue light. Basically being on my phone and computer too much caused me to go from perfect 20/20 vision to needing an eyeglass prescription. Now given some of that is from school, a large chunk of it is the time I spent with my phone held up to my face. This constant screentime left me feeling dizzy, with a  pounding headache and blurred vision on a regular basis. With a large change in my screen time, the headaches occur maybe once throughout the week, previously they were occurring multiple times a day. My relationships with God, my family, and my friends have all improved greatly. I am more present in social situations, not worrying about what I might have missed on Instagram, the hours I would spend locked up in my bedroom I spend talking to the people I live with. Crazy, right? My grades have improved, I have no decent reason to sit on my phone while the teacher talks or refresh my for you page instead of doing my homework. 

   My biggest fear when getting rid of social media was losing touch with those I care about. I have a lot of friends who live in other countries around the world, and due to charges on long-distance messaging, I can’t just shoot them a text whenever, so the primary way we communicated was through Facebook and Instagram, and for a long while I told myself there was no alternative, no solution, so there was no plausible way for me to get rid of social media. A motto I tend to live by is “when there’s a will, there’s a way” and it applies perfectly to this situation. First, you can use Facebook messenger without using Facebook itself, it’s an entirely separate app. Second, there is another app called WhatsApp, it is a communication app that is used by a vast majority of people in Europe to communicate with those who live in other countries. It took me maybe five minutes to create an account and message all the people I was afraid of losing touch with.

  I’m not gonna lie and say that I haven’t wanted to get my Instagram back, to redownload TikTok. There have been multiple occasions through the past couple of months that I have been somewhere or experienced something and wanted to post it right away. To make sure everyone saw this crazy thing that just happened or how much fun I was having with a friend. This endless need to update people who probably just tapped through my story and scrolled past my posts, gave me yet another hard pill to swallow. How many things was I posting and sharing just because I thought I was supposed to because everyone else was because I wanted to make sure I was seen

   I’ve realized over the past weeks that being seen by everyone isn’t as great as it sounds, that I’m seen by the ones I care about. That although some random person who happens to have one mutual friend with me may not see me, my closest friends, who are always there, do. That the stranger whose photo I just liked might not know my name, but my family knows that and so much more.  That those of you who may happen to skim through this article may not see me, but my creator does. The people who have been with me and will continue to be, see me, even if the rest of the world is blind to my existence. 

Maybe one day in the future I’ll log back in, redownload the deleted apps and remind the world that I am still alive. For right now though, I’m enjoying just being here, just living rather than sharing. Social media isn’t all bad, but life without it is so very good.