February 16, 2020

Limiting my time on social media creates freeing experience

With winter break quickly approaching, we’ll finally get a break from papers, tests, and readings for class, but the newfound freetime also makes it a perfect time to form new habits–or break old ones.

One of the habits I’m trying to quit over the holiday break is the amount of time I spend scrolling through social media. As a function of a recent iPhone update, I get alerts every week about how much time I’m spending on my phone, and these alerts have made me hyper aware of how much I’m on my phone.

Another aspect of the update allows users to give themselves time limits on certain kinds of apps. For me, the apps I spend the most time on are Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. By using the Screen Time app on my iPhone, I’ve been able to cut down my social media usage to two hours a day–about half of what it used to be. 

One of the latest Apple updates including showing users how much time they spend on their screens.

Even though I hit the two-hour mark almost every day, I still feel proud that I haven’t turned the limit off, and I’m hoping to lower it even more in the future.

When I hit the limit early in the day, it’s kind of scary how often I still try to tap on the apps to open them up. I find myself trying to check them while waiting for classes to start and walking to and from class. 

One great thing about the Screen Time app is that it doesn’t allow notifications to come through, which makes it easier for me to ignore social media when I hit my daily limit. 

It also gives you the option to block some apps and not others, so if there’s an app you feel like you need access to or one you feel like you should specifically limit, you can do that.

The ability to see how much time I’m spending on certain apps has been a wake up call for me, especially about my social media habits. I realize that I use social media as a crutch, and that I often spend time mindlessly scrolling through the feed rather than interacting with others.

Overall, I feel like I’ve been much more productive and I’ve gotten better sleep. As a senior with several end-of-the-semester projects, this result of my little experiment has been extremely helpful.

I also feel like I’ve been more present in my everyday life, which is something that I didn’t know I was missing. When I don’t spend hours scrolling through my social feeds, I have more time to do things around my apartment, read for fun, and spend time outside. 

I feel like this will prove especially important as I spend time with loved ones during the holiday season. Instead of focusing on posting pictures about the holiday festivities, I’ll be more present at family dinners and parties, which is really important to me.

This is just the start of my plan to be more conscious about the time I spend on my phone. Who knows–maybe I’ll spend a few days of break in a social media blackout.

  • Heather Barr is the current Editor-In-Chief of The Chimes and a senior at Capital University, studying Journalism and Professional Writing. hbarr@capital.edu

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