I can go a long time without checking my social media. I can go ages.
At least, that is what my brain thinks.
And, when I do hop on Twitter/Facebook/Instagram, it’s not for long. I probably spend an hour on those things a day. Ninety minutes, tops.
I mean, sure, I scroll through dumb people’s dumb opinions in bed at 2am. Who doesn’t? @RejectKatyPerry629 has a slightly wrong opinion about an election happening in Massachusetts! What, am I supposed to just go to sleep?
Seriously though, the extent to which the internet, and particularly social media, has burrowed into my brain is terrifying. Where I used to have my own opinions, I now often view things through the eyes of a YouTube commenter.
“Look at how famous celebrity blinks at 1:39, she’s trying to signal something!”
Wildly popular Netflix film, The Social Dilemma, sets its gaze on this phenomenon – and explains how addiction to social media is not an accident. Per The Social Dilemma, our favourite apps were designed to create junkies of their users. They were designed to refresh like a slot machine. They were designed to make you click through. They were designed to offend you, to outrage you, to addict you.
But, I mean, we hardly needed the experts to tell us that. Social media addiction is well-acknowledged, funnily enough, on social media.
Variations of “this app is rotting my brain” will regularly pop up all over the internet. Unlike, say, alcohol or drug addiction, there’s no need to insist you don’t have a problem. With alcoholism, there are tried and true methods to becoming sober. Methods that are, in general, encouraged. But quitting social media? Kind of extreme.
Because social media, if you can use it responsibly, has a lot of benefits. Then again, the same could probably be said for alcohol.
I was lucky. When I was in high school, my family didn’t have the internet. Shit, we didn’t even have a computer.
No, I wasn’t born in the 1940s, I actually grew up in the internet age. And I certainly didn’t think I was lucky at the time. All of my friends had Bebo, and MySpace, and later, Facebook. I hated my parents for keeping me so out of the loop.
I love them for it now.
Everyone should be able to experience a time (in fact, a significant amount of time) without the internet. Being able to read a book without feeling your hand twitch, unconsciously, for a phone is #goals.
Everyone should be able to go to a beautiful beach/park/café without feeling the need to grab content for Instagram.
For me, that comes by implementing restrictions. Deleting apps from my phone (even if it means re-downloading and re-deleting). Putting my phone in another room while I read. Placing my phone out of reach at night (hard!). Or, my favourite, making my partner change my password and then logging out. They’ll log me back in whenever I want them to but, god, it’s embarrassing.
One day, I imagine, I’ll quit the whole thing. All of them. At least, I’ve got to believe I will.
The Social Dilemma is available on Netflix.Support Villainesse