The Ballard Talisman

Social media is the post-millennial addiction

Human interactions weaken as cell phone use grows stronger

Ella Andersen, Website Editor

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Last November, I deleted my Instagram and Snapchat. Everyone told me it wouldn’t last long. There were few peers in my life who wholeheartedly supported this decision, and none followed me in this act.

I did it because I felt that I was on my phone too often. I see someone in the halls I don’t want to make eye contact with: pull out my phone. I go somewhere I don’t know anyone: pull out my phone. I have a lot of homework tonight, but guess what, I’d rather pull out my phone. The worst of it was that even if I saw someone I liked, I would default to my phone, as I felt that any eye contact was awkward eye contact.

Social media goes to a deeper level than just avoiding interaction, though – it takes a stab right at our self-confidence. Scrolling through Instagram and seeing beautiful people in beautiful places, wondering why we don’t look like that or have that life. Snapchat is no better. One can find oneself lost in looking at stories any given night and wondering why they weren’t invited or why they don’t do anything like that.

These are the questions that our generation faces in a way that no past one has. Our deepest insecurities are put into our back pockets, and the worst part is that we need it.

We need our phones like we’ve never needed anything else ever before. We can’t be without it. We can’t go a day without our phones, and even saying a day, that seems like far too long. When we’re apart, we crave it, and when we’re together, we don’t put it down.

When did phones become the equivalent of people?

I really enjoyed my time away from social media. It took me a while at first to stop looking at my phone so often, but once I did, it felt freeing. I found myself making more eye contact, and talking to new people. I also found that I took a lot less pictures – as I had nowhere to “post” them – which allowed for me to fully enjoy experiences for what they were, instead of just documenting them for other people.

I got my social media back on the last day of school last year. I thought I was changed and I could have social media while also not spending too much time on my phone and keeping up my human interactions. That was sadly not the case. Social media came back along with all my old habits, and I was once again a slave to Apple and its apps.

This new generation has had it pounded into them that addiction is bad. Cigarette PSAs are on constant rerun – they’re bad for you, they’re addicting. People talk about addictions as such a serious topic because they are, but what people don’t realize is we’re all addicted to our phones. We can’t go without them. We freak out if we don’t have them, and even after going to rehab, there is always a chance of a relapse.

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Social media is the post-millennial addiction