For a media studies assignment, I chose to fast from all my social media (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat), Youtube videos and for the most part, unnecessary texting for three whole days. I chose these specifically because I felt as if I have been spending a lot of time on all of these, and I really needed a reality check. We live in the here and now, I needed a few days to realise that I don’t have to check up on what everyone else is doing. I needed that break, and i’m grateful that this assignment gave that opportunity to me to do so.
On all the platforms above, i’d estimate that on a normal day I spend anywhere from 3.5-5 hours a day on them. That’s insane and saying it out loud just goes to show, that having a phone is a complete addiction. I recently just got my first ever phone, and I’ve been loving keeping in touch with people. I haven’t owned a device in 1.5-2 years, it’s been a while. I remember all those days when I would sit around with people at the lunch table, only to have them look at their phones. More and more now I’ve been finding that, I’ve been doing that too. On May 8th, I was sitting at the lunch table, without a phone to distract myself with and I had that same feeling. On any normal day, I can find myself checking my phone before, in between and after school.
For the first day, it felt very off not to check these social media platforms, but as the days went by, all went back to normal. On Saturday May 6, I had to go to driving school. At driving school, if you have absolutely nothing else to do, the most obvious answer is to go on your phone, right? Well, I didn’t have that choice and at first I felt a little, “left out.” I kept thinking to myself, maybe I should break the fast for a few minutes each day to check on what is going on on Instagram or Facebook, or maybe I should give my Snap chat password to a friend, so they can keep up my streaks with my friends! But, as the time went on, I realised that all that was not important. So what if I don’t see what other people are doing? so what if I don’t follow that person on Instagram RIGHT THIS SECOND? so what if I lose my snap chat streak? I can always see all these things later, but for now, I’m pushing myself to go beyond what society has pushing me into in the first place.
From this experience, I learned that cell phones truly can be a distraction from daily living. They are meant to distract you, to take you away from reality – which, don’t get me wrong, sometimes people need that. This assignment has emphasised for me, that it should be me controlling my phone and not my phone controlling me. I really recommend it to everyone to try.