Process Post #3: The Trials and Errors of Avoiding Technology
The pure irony of trying to minimize my time staring at screens while completing a full course load remotely…
The question of “if I could stay off social media or the Internet as long as this wouldn’t cause harm, could I do it” is more complicated than it should be.
And, there’s two distinct sides to my thoughts on this.
On one side, as long as social media isn’t the only thing I do all day, and as long as it doesn’t impede my other life tasks, whether that be exercise, family or friend time, or school, I don’t see a big problem. On the other hand, watching documentaries like The Social Dilemma or The Great Hack makes me want to be better about it.
Let’s talk about the second one first. As a communication major I have been told again and again about the risks of online surveillance and tracking, and yet I don’t really feel scared about it. It’s more of a question of “why would my data matter?” However, I also see the problems with social media addiction. Any sort of unnecessary reliance on something isn’t good, and I definitely dont’ not rely on social media.
Now let’s give a second to the first one. I really only use and engage with three social media apps on the daily. I use Twitter to stay updated, I use Instagram to keep up with friends, and Tiktok for pure entertainment. When I focus on using these apps for these purposes, my time on social media is limited. I think if I were to try to cut any of these out, it wound’t necessarily benefit my life that much because of what I use them for.
However ever since I watched The Social Dilemma and reflected on my social media ‘addiction’, I have implemented time limits on these apps. 30 minutes per day on tiktok, and 45 minutes for Twitter and Instagram to share. I do find myself over-riding the time limits sometimes to check notifications or to do something for the student union I’m a part of (Marketing for CMNSU at SFU), but the pure guilt-trip of having to click “ignore time limit for 15 minutes” definitely deters me from going onto the apps just to scroll aimlessly.
Unfortunately, my efforts to stay off screens more has failed miserably with online school. Over the summer I managed to reflect on the time I devote to them and make some real efforts to engage in other activities, like painting and reading. However, going into the fall semester, when I would regularly be spending time taking notes in a notebook and interacting with real humans, this same time is now spent on Zoom, which, to be honest, sucks!
Now to circle back to the main question, if I could cut out screens, social media, and the Internet without causing harm, I think I definitely would opt to change my lifestyle a bit. While social media definitely holds a more positive place in my life, it would never hurt to face the real world a little more often.