Celebrities and social media influencers have recently been having/doing/giving themselves (which verb do I use??) digital detoxes (apparently – that’s what the newspaper organisers told me to write about anyway).
For social media influencers in particular, their job is quite literally to be interacting on social media, so a digital detox is essentially just the equivalent of leaving the office for them. I guess part of being a celebrity is also to engage with their fans via their social media pages.
The fact that influencers and celebrities are doing this makes me think that maybe I should be doing it too. Although (I hope) I’m less likely to spend as much time on social media as an influencer or celebrity, there’s always room for improvement when it comes to both mental and physical health. Particularly in the middle of a global pandemic, where most of us are now practising self-isolation and social distancing, I’ve caught my daily screen time creeping its way up. Despite me knowing this and doing absolutely nothing about it, I know that it’ll have a negative impact on my mental health, which is already at risk in the first place, from being told that Pets At Home, Greggs and Pizza Express are currently closed. After a very brief Google, I can tell you guys that social media ruins your sleep, your concentration, your memory, your general well-being and for some, your confidence. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to keep most of those things, please and thank you xox.
On the other hand, whilst self-isolating, some people may actually want to be Facetiming, calling and messaging more than usual, as this is the only opportunity to socialise for some people in isolation. Ironically, at this particular time, increasing your daily screen time by digitally socialising with friends and family could have a positive effect on your mental health. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if you fall into the ‘It Helps Me’ or the ‘It Slightly Fucks Me’ category.
With this in mind, perhaps it’s sensible to set a daily limit. For instance, allow yourself half an hour to be on FaceTime to a loved one, and then another half an hour to be watching dog videos on Facebook, sending nudes on Snapchat, whatever you get up to. To some, an hour per day of screen time may seem excessive, but it’s surprising how long people can spend on their phone without realising. The average British person spends 3 hours and 23 minutes per day on their phone, according to Code. If you are in the age bracket of 16-24 years of age, this increases even more to 3 hours and 58 minutes per day – almost 4 hours, wasted, when you could’ve been eating Jaffa cakes for those 4 hours instead.
This shocking amount of screen time is recorded on any iPhone. Last year, Apple set up an option to put a limit on your screen time. You can select specific apps, or select all apps classed as ‘social media’ to have a time limit on them. Once your time limit is up for the day, you stop receiving notifications for that app for the rest of the day, and you have to press ‘Ignore Limit’ to be able to use the app again.
I use this social media limit on my phone, but I’m not gonna lie, I just press Ignore Limit when the times up, which completely defeats the purpose. Before using this feature, I probably spent over 2 hours per day on the thing playing Candy Crush, waiting yonks for Snapchat to load, and looking up #cutedogs on Instagram. It’s probably time for me to start taking it seriously.
By looking at a phone or any device, you are exposing your eyes to ‘a stream of photons’, which prevent the secretion of melatonin. For a lot of people (dumb asses), this doesn’t appear to be common knowledge. There has been numerous amounts of research being carried out on the effects of social media usage, but as social media is all still relatively new, it’s still impossible to know for sure how healthy or unhealthy it can be for a person.
Here are my suggestions that don’t include your phone or any other device:
- Have a wank
- Start drawing that tattoo you’ve always wanted
- Make a bomb ass meal you’ve never made before
- Clear out your wardrobe whilst listening to Lizzo on full blast on the speaker
- Watch your gerbil (or any pet) nibble on an orange segment for hours
- Start a 30 day Plank Challenge, you know, one that you won’t actually give up on this time
- Clean your car (do mine too pls whilst you’re at it)
- Stop reading this shitty blog and get the fuck off your phone.