She stopped scrolling...

Posted on November 28, 2018

A media diet goes a long way

My alarm usually goes off at 8 A.M. I groggily reach over to my bedside table for my phone. So light and shiny, my prized possession, bringing me all the joys of other people’s lives. It’s just so easy, scrolling through Facebook while my eyes glaze over. The first person to greet me in the morning is the Instagram model posing in Santorini, and jealousy consumes me. Guilt overwhelms me because I’m not up at 5 A.M. doing a core workout like the tan woman on my screen. Loneliness is what I feel rolling out of bed because I don’t have a cute, rich boyfriend like the girl I knew from elementary school. This was my morning routine, and it quickly became my daily routine leaving me full of regret by bed time. I lost control of my fingers, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling.

My alarm goes off again, and as I peel my eyes open to spot my phone, I’m actually relieved to find that it’s not there. I get up, take a shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed for the day ahead. After months of spending the first hour of the day with my eyes glued to a screen, I feel refreshed to begin my day with purpose.

My morning cup of tea tastes different. Maybe because I’m actually tasting it instead of checking Snapchat. I sip in slow motion, hoping that this moment will never end...until it does. Ding! There it is. Across the room I can see my phone light up as it sits on the floor plugged into an outlet in the corner, as if it’s in a timeout. I dread picking it up, but I realize that while this device is apart of my life, it’s not its entirety. Email alerts, texts, and Instagram notifications flood the screen from my spending the last 12 hours alone. Part of me feels giddy about all the attention. A ring here, a bell there, I feel so popular! But most of me just doesn’t care so much anymore, and this is the part I'm giving into from now on.

It really doesn’t matter if I got one hundred or one thousand likes on my latest selfie, because if I like it, that’s true happiness. And it really doesn’t matter if the popular girl unfollowed me, because I don’t even know her! As I spend more and more time apart from my former beloved iPhone, I realize that none of it matters. It’s this realization that has prompted me to delete Snapchat, the app which had me so concerned about keeping fifty plus streaks to maintain a made-up popularity rank that I lost meaning in many of those friendships. It’s this realization that has encouraged me to set time limits on many of apps where I succumbed to addiction. It’s this realization that has encouraged me to acknowledge the world just a few inches up from my screen. I’ve recognized the worth in reading books made of paper, and having a face to face conversation without pausing to check my Twitter feed. Instagram, however, and Facebook and all the social media outlets out there, do not have to be toxic. I use it as a platform to share my opinions on actual issues. I see it as an opportunity to be authentic and honest with my audience, rather than compete with my followers to see who can get the more flattering angle. We have the power to change how our phones affect us.

Do yourself a favor, and use that handy iPhone of yours to help you, not hurt you. Go into Settings, and explore the “Screen Time” component. You won’t regret this.

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