To Delete, or Not to Delete?

Liv Chai
People have started leaving social media try to counterbalance the negative effects of it in everyday life.

What was the longest time you logged off social media for? The mindless urge to constantly publicize our lives followed by the comfort of knowing everyone’s whereabouts has resulted in an addicting need for social media.

Most users are within the ages of 18 and 34, and 50 percent of young people visit social media platforms at least once a day — it makes sense that social media plays an integral role in our day-to-day lives. Recently though, there has been an interesting trend of users deleting social media accounts completely. Between 2011 and 2014, approximately 11 million teens left Facebook and a study by Digital Awareness UK and the Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference found that 71 percent of students have taken a break from social media, and an astonishing 63 percent wouldn’t mind if social media no longer existed.

The issues with social media and wanting to take a breather from the hectic platforms shouldn’t be news. Studies have proven social media is associated with jealousy and decreased self-confidence. Social media companies have relentlessly pushed their agendas, and users have blindly been sucked into their ploys despite these negative effects. For instance, Snapchat’s streak feature was declared an “insidious” business tactic by The Guardian as it pressures users to go on the application at least daily to maintain a superficial representation of a friendship.

Some NYU students have noticed the same negative aspects of these different platforms, and delete their accounts as a result. CAS sophomore Sanda Matchaba is an example of one of these people.

“I deleted Instagram because I felt myself always opening it subconsciously and I felt like it was controlling me,” Matchaba said. “I also realized that the unrealistic standards were chipping away at me slowly, and I didn’t realize it until after I deleted Instagram, so I just never got it back.”

It takes a while to fully feel the refreshing effects of deleting social media. As someone who deleted Instagram and Snapchat recently, I found the effects refreshing. Were there moments I was plagued with genuine curiosity, wondering what people I had no current connection to were doing? Definitely. However, with it came a more attentive and present mindset. No longer did I feel the need to capture things on my phone and Snapchat something I found amusing or just pleasant to look at. I would appreciate things without having to record the fleeting moments of the serendipitous occurrence. The memories were stored in my head rather than a Snapchat story, a change that felt weird. Although I was pushed out of my comfort zone, I was glad that I was.

Would you delete social media? Not as a way of punishing yourself for spending too much time scrolling through instead of paying attention in class or dragging out an assignment that could have been easily completed in an hour, but for the sake of living life outside of a platform that changes the way we think, behave and absorb information. It worked for me, and I hope it will for you too.

Email Liv Chai at [email protected].

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