Column: The endless scroll


Social media is everywhere. 

Musical artists blow up on TikTok, activist groups take to Instagram to spread their messages and people share articles on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. 

We use these platforms to communicate every day. 

While it can definitely be utilized as an important tool, social media has consumed us to a point where we can feel uncomfortable stepping away from it for long periods of time.

The amount of times I have unknowingly spent over an hour scrolling on TikTok or Instagram is concerning. Just this weekend, my daily average time spent on TikTok was four hours. This endless scroll consumed a large portion of my weekend. 

I could have been doing more productive things with my time, but scrolling through TikTok and Instagram gave me instant dopamine. It’s so easy to get hooked. 

TikTok’s advanced algorithm does an amazing job of keeping people engaged by analyzing what users prefer and generating eerily similar content. 

How many times have you watched a TikTok that seems to describe you perfectly? If you have the app, the probability is very high. 

Social media addiction is a real thing. 

According to AddictionCenter, it is a type of behavioral addiction “characterized as being overly concerned about social media, driven by an uncontrollable urge to log on to or use social media, and devoting so much time and effort to social media that it impairs other important life areas.” 

I’ll admit it — I have been addicted to social media before. If you have a significantly high screen time, chances are you have been addicted too.

The first step for me was identifying the issue. I used to scroll through my social media platforms for so long that it took time away from doing more productive things. I became unmotivated to do anything other than mindlessly scrolling, especially during quarantine.

After I realized this was a problem, I knew I needed to do a digital detox. I deleted all of the social media apps that I used most often. It was difficult for the first few days, but eventually it became easier to find other things to do with my time.

In addition to deleting the apps, I also set a screen time limit for myself. I allowed myself three hours a day on my phone, which helped me decrease my overall phone usage. 

Turning on Do Not Disturb also helped me decrease my screen time and social media usage. Seeing my phone light up with a notification used to give me a rush of dopamine, so eliminating this decreased the urge to always check my phone.

Deleting social media was one of the best things I have done for myself. Granted I have re-downloaded most of the apps I had once deleted, but I am now more conscious about the endless scroll phenomenon.

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