Column: Keep track of your screen time

Gillian Eubanks

Last week, I spent 44 hours and 59 minutes on my phone. If you go to “Screen Time” in your settings on your iPhone, it will show you what apps you use the most and for how long, how many times you pick up your phone, how many notifications you get on each app, and your overall total screen time.

The movie “The Social Dilemma” on Netflix is a documentary where tech experts are interviewed on the negative impacts of social media. By the end of the movie, I had many thoughts to share.

They outline the real major problems in the tech industry and social media: addiction and how social media affects the human psyche.

We all know that social media and the internet is filled with advertisements, which are what pay for those outlets. But what is paying the advertisers? We are the products sold to the advertisers.

This becomes a problem once you find out that our data is being stored and shared to algorithms which predict who we are based on all of our searches, photos, posts, etc. So, each platform has their own algorithm that is competing with each other to create the best version of you that will have you coming back, time and time again.

This is where social media addiction comes in. We are way too addicted to the feeling of refreshing our feed or checking our notifications. This feeling triggers “positive reinforcement” in us, which is why we keep doing it. Through this positive reinforcement, we are constantly being given a “reward,” like those notifications, or new posts, and it makes us repeat these behaviors to keep getting that reward.

In the age of technology, social media is really just beginning and there is no telling what it will look like, even in the next decade. Is there a chance, though, that this is detrimental to the human race? Possibly.

Social media keeps us from being more connected to our natural world, our friends or peers and from our own lives. How many times were you going to work on homework or even a hobby and instead you wasted three hours on social media? Too many, and I can personally relate to this.

Obviously, there is nothing we can do to change the course social media is taking, but maybe we can learn to get back to our roots.

Give yourself a time limit for screen time and social media. Do things you loved to do as a child, like drawing, writing, watching a movie, etc. Do the things that make you feel most alive instead of letting the artificial world make you feel that way.

 

Gillian Eubanks junior health communications major. She can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]