Social Media Is Messing With Your Mind

Over the last decade, academic studies have found the more you use social media, the more likely you are to be dissatisfied with life. In the studies, the more participants used social media, the more they reported lower levels of perceived well-being and mental health. For anyone who has used social media, that’s probably not a surprise; the experience tends to be one of browsing other people’s life highlights while you sit in front of a screen. It can seem like everyone else is leading a full life while you struggle through boring homework.Cell Phone under a mouse trap

The good news is that you don’t need to use social media. As a high school student, you have an enormous amount of opportunity to be social and build real-life connections. Even if you don’t have any classes with your main friend group this semester, you can at least see some of them at lunch. Plus, there’s always time on the weekend to hang out.

Maybe you’re thinking “But I use social media for so much more! It’s the fastest way to get the news. It suggests cool music and art pages that I’ve never seen before. It keeps me on top of when my favorite concerts are coming up.” The truth is that there are better sources for those things than social media. Even though news sites tend to be an hour behind Twitter, they also provide the whole story instead of 140 character exclamations. Unless you’re trading stocks, an hour’s difference on the latest news isn’t a big deal. Need to discover more art and music? Check out specialty blogs and student radio stations. Instead of suggestions from an often off-the-mark algorithm, you’ll be introduced to new things by passionate human curators. As for concerts and events, all your favorite venues have pages on their websites listing upcoming offerings.

Social media is designed to keep you coming back as much as possible, every day. The more you spend time on it, the more you’ll have an urge to check for updates. It can get to the point that when you try to focus on something, like a school project or writing a song for your band, you find yourself interrupted by the urge to see what’s new online.

You don’t need to quit social media, but it’s important to realize you don’t need it. By minimizing your time spent scrolling through an endless list of updates, you’ll maximize your time spent experiencing real life. Remember, there’s not much you can find on social media that you can’t find anywhere else.