30 Days Without Social Media?

Hanna Savanuck

Imagine life as a college student with no social media for 30 days. For some students participating in this challenge is not a big deal but for others, a full month without any form of social media can seem nearly impossible.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 2.62 billion people worldwide use social media as of 2018. Out of those people, 14.8 million of them are students enrolled in colleges in the United States. For some, social networking is such a huge part of their daily lives that the thought of not being active on these sites can seem very difficult, especially for students continuing their education after high school.

While sites like Facebook provide opportunities to connect with people from around the world, it also allows people to peek into the lives of others.

In comes FOMO (fear of missing out). For those who have never heard of this term before, it is the envious, negative, and anxious feelings associated with not being active in the lives of those who are close to you. Social media goes hand-in-hand with these feelings because if a user who is constantly active on these platforms abruptly stops using them, that fear of missing out can be triggered.

FOMO has even been deemed as a true “psychological condition” by some psychologists and researchers. In fact, a recent study published in a scholarly book, “Motivation and Emotion,” states that this fear is actually greater when people are either studying or working.

With apps like Instagram and Snapchat, one can vicariously live through the lives of others. Therefore, people can rely on these platforms to provide them with the “fuel” necessary to avoid FOMO.

So, what if a college student decided to take a 30 day break from Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, etc.? Can one benefit from a full month of absolutely no social networks? Are there any negative “side effects?” Well, this all depends on the person and how committed they are to these platforms.

Full time CCBC Student and Psychology Major, Trish Kazelis, does not consider herself attached to social media, despite having a Facebook profile.

“I don’t think I’m addicted to it. It’s [logging in] not the first thing I do when I wake up, and I rarely interact with social media on a daily basis,” she says.

She decided to take a break for personal reasons and also contributes the potential issues associated with social platforms to her decision.

“I was having conflicts with people over it and ultimately felt fed up with the platform.”

While this break was easier for her because of the little impact Facebook has on her daily life, she thinks that all college students can benefit from abstaining from all social media for a month. In fact, she has completed this challenge before and found that it helped detach herself from these social sites.

Kazelis says, “I found new ways to entertain myself, but most importantly, I found myself more aware of what was going on around me because I wasn’t hunched over a phone.”

She also feels that students often get too distracted from these networks.

“College students can sometimes have poor priorities, caring only about their phones, Instagram, and getting ‘likes.’ Separating themselves from social media for an extended period of time can help them reevaluate their priorities, pay better attention in class, and get more school work done.”

The ultimate result of her break from these networks?

“I use social media now, but I don’t allow it to be such a big part of my life anymore.”

So, what about the other half of society who uses social media on a daily basis? Surely, a 30 day break would not be as easy as it was for someone like Kazelis.

Frequest Snapchat user and CCBC student, Ashah Pervez, says that she uses social media every day. As a senior who is graduating from the college with a degree in medicine, she says she would rather not participate in the challenge because she enjoys having the easy accessibility of information at her hands.

Pervez isn’t alone. In a 2018 study done by Project Information Literacy, out of 5,844 students across 11 colleges and universities in the U.S., 89 percent use social media weekly as a source of news.

“If I want to find something out, I know I can go on social media and find it. I wouldn’t say I depend on it, but without it, I feel like I don’t know much and I’m missing out on something that maybe I should know about.”

What she is describing is a prime example of the previously mentioned FOMO. Although she is active on these networks, she recognizes that these apps and websites can be a distraction.

“When I try to study, it distracts me a lot because I am so tempted to get on it to see what’s going on with my page. Sometimes I have to turn my phone off when I am at home just so I don’t get off focus and can do my homework.”

Despite not wanting to do the 30 day no social media challenge, she acknowledges the benefits of it.

“Not using it would make me focus more throughout my day and would keep me busy [with schoolwork].”

There are two conclusions we can make from hearing both sides of this spectrum: Two different people with opposing opinions reaffirms that a break from social networking just depends on how involved the user is with these platforms.

However, the other conclusion that can be drawn is that both sides recognize that this challenge can be beneficial to college students. Aside from focusing more on studies, without the distraction of sites like Twitter or Youtube, there is opportunity to truly focus on oneself.

Students who are experiencing personal challenges during their semester can redirect their focus on their own personal goals which can result in accomplishing them. Without the distraction and temptation of finding out what’s constantly going on in the world right now, focusing on something as simple as finding a new hobby can lead to new interests and self-discoveries.

So, would you participate in the challenge of going 30 days with no social media? Here’s a better question: Could you go 30 days without social media? Well, there’s only one way to find out.

17 comments

  1. Julian Johnson 11 March, 2019 at 19:45 Reply

    This blog is very informative. It makes wonder what life will be like without social media. This article had a lot of interesting points such as the psychological condition FOMO. I agree with most of the article many students are addicted to social media. When I was in high school , social media was very big among students. There were good things and bad things about it. Some people see social media as bad due to many personal issues that come up through social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter. Many physical fights would come through it. However, I see it as a good thing because it helps me interact with other peers my age. I don’t know if I could do the challenge because I like to keep up with my friends who are in the music business. We like to share some advice and tips about the music industry and media world. I think if people use social media in moderation than people probably won’t have to worry about suffering from FOMO. I thought the article was very well written and included a lot of well-known statistics. I like how the article wasn’t biased as well and included another student’s perspective.

  2. Lanseni Sogoba 13 March, 2019 at 12:54 Reply

    This article is very interesting and amazing as it relates to our daily life challenge referring to social media. Talking about roles and issues related to social media in our daily lives is an important topic to discuss and examine the various aspects of its impact on young people and undergraduate students. I believe that although social media helps to stay connected and be aware of what is happening around the world, family, and friends, it is also true that social media is very distracting and take our focus far away from what really matter to us.
    In addition, I want to make it clear that social media is not my priority for spending my spare time or news searching. I mostly use google search and try often time to stay away from all social media in order to focus on myself. I am participating in this 30 days challenge but it is a good thing to try if someone belongs to those who are addicted to social media. Over all speaking, it is a very good article.

  3. Jake Duggan 17 March, 2019 at 08:27 Reply

    This article was very well done and I think the message it sends is very important! Last November, I decided to delete all of my social media accounts, and I stayed off of them until February. I’m not too attached to social media either, so it wasn’t that challenging. I had thoughts of what I might be missing out on online, but rather than acting on FOMO, I just imagined what it was like decades ago when Instagram, Snapchat, and smartphones didn’t exist. People worked on themselves and took care of their responsibilities! Learn to play an instrument, go on a hike, meet up with friends, do your homework; the possibilities are endless when you unshackle yourself from your phone, and you’ll find that you get a lot more done! I’m back on social media now, but I only get on my Instagram once every few days or so to post something or look at the feed. If anyone is on the fence about breaking from social media… GO FOR IT!! Use your extra time to pick up a new practice and do those things you’ve always wanted to try… you’ll be amazed how much life opens up for you!

  4. Asilah 17 March, 2019 at 11:15 Reply

    This news story was very interesting and made me think about how much I allow social media to control my life. I remember recently when Instagram was not working for a couple of hours I was freaking out like everyone else, but I was able to find other things to entertain me. I believe that fasting from social media for a month would not be hard for me only because I have so much to do taking a break from it would be a welcome relief.

  5. Alyssa Gladden 17 March, 2019 at 20:30 Reply

    Very interesting article. Was well written and really grabbed and kept the readers attention. With this day in Age it seems everything we do is connected through socia media and it is interesting to see what 30 days without it would be like. Personally I don’t think I could live without social media for that long due to the fact that I wouldn’t feel connected. I use my social media to stay connected with my those around me and without it I would feel lost.

  6. Kingsley 17 March, 2019 at 21:02 Reply

    This is the sickest thing I’ve read in months! I mean, the perspective that is created when you remove social media from everyday life is wild. I am a GIANT social media user/fan and I love how you talked about the distraction wen studying. This is a big problem for me because my study situation has become so bad that I have to literally turn wifi off or enable do not disturb mode and put my phone under my desk at home…It’s actually insane. I feel like my generation wouldn’t know how to function in terms of everyday life and coming in contact with others if social media wasn’t a thing. With this, I feel like even though we would take a step forward by getting rid of social media, we would take two steps backs as a species since myself along with thousands of others depend learn so much from the internet. For example, did you know that Chinese takeout boxes(white box red lettering style) can unfold into a plate? Crazy right! Regardless of the countless little weird facts that many others like me learn daily, I feel that social media is also a guide in the fact that it’s a source of instant knowledge which has saved my butt many a time. All in all, keep up the good work, LOVED THIS!

  7. Devon (Dexter) Denton Jr 17 March, 2019 at 22:23 Reply

    This article “30 Days Without Social Media?” was an interesting read, because it asks that question, “can you live without social media?” When reading it informs that people wouldn’t want to be FOMO (fear of missing out) because at least everyone has social media, and gain from it either if it’s positive or negative. Some people could live without it, while others can’t. I think reading this gave me good advice because staying off of social media for 30 days can help me do other things. More so, focusing on the good that could and should be done, such as, work, schoolwork, and interacting with people in person. Personally, I enjoy being on social media, because of the funny videos, keeping update on my movies and music, and meeting new people that share the same interest as me. Overall, this article was a good read, and well written.

  8. Lucy Ren 17 March, 2019 at 23:35 Reply

    This article was really interesting and I can’t relate a lot to two things. One of the two is having FOMO. I agree that in this day in age, social media is just a platform to showcase how amazing one’s life could be and it’s really hard to not get jealous over someone going to the Bahamas, getting engaged, new job, etc. And because of getting fed up with it, the second thing that I related to was taking a social media break of 2 months last semester and really focused on school, work, and my mental health. It was a really freeing experience and I didn’t miss it at all. You just have to get used to not having social media on your phone, because now that I’m not on the break I’m still addicted to it like before. It was hard to start but once you have started for a while you just don’t miss it at all. I agree that everyone should try it and be more present in your life without having it as a distraction for a while.

  9. athomas 24 March, 2019 at 22:19 Reply

    This is such an interesting topic! I find myself using social media more and more every year, it’s become a huge distraction in my life. Last semester I turned my phone on Airplane Mode whenever I would study, to avoid senseless scrolling. Having a career in media I use it for everything, and sometimes I do take advantage of that. I try to have more of a balance now. I put my phone away whenever I’m out with friends to just enjoy the moment.

  10. Samantha Shelton 9 May, 2019 at 07:18 Reply

    This was a very interesting article. I myself use social media throughout the day as much as I can. I am using facebook, Instagram, snap chat etc. Sometimes I get so caught up that I forget what I am even supposed to be doing. Recently I have been trying to put my phone away more especially when I am around my family or I am out doing things. Once I started doing this I realized how much I was actually missing out on.

  11. Juliana Plugues 9 May, 2019 at 14:04 Reply

    This provides such a good perspective. I notice social media gets in my way on my day off. I can usually manage my time well with little to no distraction from social media when I’m living my busiest day. When I do have a free day that could be used towards other things (for example spring cleaning), I find myself totally vegging out on Snapchat or Facebook. I can totally relate to wanting a break and exploring other ways to use my time.

    As a suggestion, there is an app called “Screen Time” that helps people see how their time is being used and how much time is going to social media!

  12. Miguel Lappay 11 May, 2019 at 15:54 Reply

    This is a very interesting topic . 30 days without social media wouldn’t be very easy, especially when i’m on it 24/7. I couldn’t even go an hour. Im so connected to my phone that i cant even turn it off because i would think that i would be getting a notification from Instagram or Twitter. Social media has really changed the way people act and think in today’s 2019 society.

  13. Iga Perka 12 May, 2019 at 12:49 Reply

    It’s a great article. Social Media is really distractive and it makes us following other peoples’ lives instead of focusing on right here and right now. People post their best moments on social platforms, which makes us think that our life is not as exciting as others, even though the life people post online is edited and not real.
    I tried to cut down on social media in a while, I don’t have Instagram, I use twitter and facebook to keep up with my family abroad, as well as news and following influencers and politicians I like.

  14. Matthew Barron 12 May, 2019 at 21:46 Reply

    This final season I did something I have never done. I put my phone on the other side of my house while I studied and honestly it worked out great. I always feel like I know people that are on social media a lot more than me which is true, but I have never been too overly obsessed with it. Why? I think part of it is because it comes to a point that people just don’t care. It is only my closest life long friends that I really care about on social media but do you really think people care that you are visiting downtown or at the Orioles game or you are doing something that lots of people to which is hang out with friends? The answer is no. I leave social media up to the real social media influencers that really know how to make money off of likes because the average person doesn’t.

  15. Randy Smith 12 May, 2019 at 23:16 Reply

    This is a great article that really highlights how we value social media and also some of the negative affects it has on us such as FOMO. I think the idea of social media is great. To be able to reach out to everyone in the click of a mouse or tap of a screen. However, it can create an anxiety that we are missing out on something greater than we have. I personally am trying to limit my social media intake in hopes of not comparing my lives to others and maybe limit my chances of obtaining FOMO.

  16. Anayah Mathias 12 May, 2019 at 23:47 Reply

    This is a really good topic to discuss on. Of course I acknowledge the downfalls of social media but I don’t really dig into it as much because I always try to look at social media in a positive light. I feel as if social media with the development of technology is apart of our modern world and it it is something hat we have created and established and something to be proud of. I feel that we shouldn’t be worrying about why we use it, but how we use it because people tend to take advantage of it and make it negative sometimes

  17. Joe 17 May, 2019 at 02:03 Reply

    The topic is really interesting, I have to turn my phone off when I study because I know I’ll check it. It really depends on the person but most people could not last 30 days without social media. Good article!

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