One of the reasons you feel unhappy may be related to the amount of time you spend on Instagram. In a report by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), 63% of Instagram users said they are miserable. These people said they use Instagram 60 minutes per day or more. The other 37%, who said they were happy using the app, spent less time scrolling.
The UK report expressed that social media was “more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol”, coinciding with reports that “rates for anxiety and depression rose 70 percent among young people over the last 25 years”, according to Deseret News.
Scientists and educators involved in the study encouraged several solutions, including calling for app developers to create warnings that would pop up after heavy usage.
“Some young people would like to see this go further with almost one-third (30%) of the young people who completed our survey supporting the idea of a heavy usage cap, whereby individuals would be automatically logged out of social media if they breached a set level of usage,” RSPH reported.
This comes just weeks after the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints encouraged youth around the world to sacrifice social media for a week and take a break from their constant scrolling on their devices. Adults and children alike took to the challenge and logged off or deleted their coveted social media accounts for seven days.
WebSafety asked social media users about their experience logging off Instagram and Facebook for the week. Their feedback followed suit with the RSPH report. Social media users who took a break saw a dramatic increase in their happiness.
“Truthfully, I didn’t think I would notice much of a difference,” said mother Britany Lewis. “But I was shocked at how much happier I felt. There was more peace at home, I was more patient with my kids and in tune with their needs. They were happier and were helpful and patient with each other. We played more, laughed more, and learned more. I was more focused on my most important job as a mother.”
A young adult and working professional, Taylor Dennis wrote, “I had NO idea how much time I was wasting on social media (specifically Instagram). I’ve been much more productive, have completed various house projects, called my friends and family more to check in, and have been quicker to get up in the morning (instead of laying in bed scrolling to see what I missed in the last 8 hours).”
She, like others we spoke with says she is downloading Facebook for work purposes, but waiting to redownload Instagram for a little while longer.
“I realized I’ve been generally happier, more focused, connected and productive without it,” says Dennis.
Besides happiness, others claimed their escape from social media gave them a better excuse to redirect their time.
“It was a good eye opener for me to realize how much time I waste doing nothing,” said Amanda Laird. “I feel all too often I open my Facebook or Instagram app without even really thinking about it, so it was good for me to stop and realize what else I could do with my time that was far more productive.”
Like Laird, Jesica Barker swapped the time she spent on social media for more productive endeavors and more sincere connections with her social media contacts.
“I’ve had so many more ideas for work, got a lot of family history done, and felt more calm/less stressed,” wrote Barker. “I’ve also used my time to text people or connect with people in other ways, which has been more meaningful, as well.”
Youth advocate, Collin Kartchner encouraged his Instagram followers to do the same and take a #7daybreakfromfake by getting off social media for a week and then go a step further by unfollowing people that made them feel bad about themselves or unhappy. Here’s a quick look at what his teenage and parent followers reported back about their experience:
“When I uploaded the apps again, I honestly felt sick. I straight up deleted Snapchat and Facebook accounts and unfollowed nearly 100 Instagram pages… I realized how it felt to NOT feel inadequate until I unfollowed/deleted.”
“I realized that social media gives you a FALSE sense of socialization. You feel like you’ve been interacting with people all day. You feel social. But most of your ‘interactions’ are so shallow… they aren’t REAL HUMAN INTERACTION. Once you get off of it, you realize you haven’t actually met up with your friends IN PERSON in a month because you both already felt caught up on each other’s lives. We’re settling for such a counterfeit version of true friendship.”
“For like the first day, I didn’t know what to do with myself, but after that I didn’t even miss it, or think about it at all! I noticed that I was SO much happier without social media. I wasn’t worrying about who posted what and snapping people back. When I put social media back on my phone, I went right back to being unhappy. I’m ready to delete it again and not just for seven days! Life is sooooo much better without it!”
“I no longer look at my life as a potential [Instagram] pic. I am trying to truly be present and connect to my kids and husband.”
“I don’t compare my life to others. I feel soooo much better about myself.”
“I reached out to more people and talked to my family more and found other ways to spend my time. I was SO happy!… I didn’t feel better when I got it back. Social media didn’t change but I did. Snapchat didn’t make me happier and I’m never going to look back on life and wish I was on social media more. I want to remember real experiences with the people I care most about and none of that requires social media. I’m done letting social media be a constant reliance in my life.”
“Had an amazing weekend with friends. Didn’t care to keep my phone on me. It was so freeing!”
Did you choose to log off? And now that’s it has been a few weeks, do you long for that sweet disconnected bliss? Share your experience by posting a comment here or join us on Facebook in our Digital Parents by WebSafety Facebook group and share your experience.