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Opinion: Social media break

The+group+members+and+villagers+participating+in+sing+and+dance+in+Los+Lobos.
The group members and villagers participating in sing and dance in Los Lobos.

The group members and villagers participating in sing and dance in Los Lobos.

Photo credit: Alexis Aguiniga

Photo credit: Alexis Aguiniga

The group members and villagers participating in sing and dance in Los Lobos.

By Alexis Aguiniga, Writer

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Two weeks before spring break I went on a mission trip to the Sierra Madre Occidental range in the Mexican states of Durango, Zacatecas, Jalisco, and Nayarit to help out the indigenous communities of the Huichol for a little over a week. The situation I struggled with the most was being without any signal and without any way to contact anybody via cell phone. Instead, I spent my phone-less days forming connections with the people I had just met, playing with the Huichol children for hours with just sticks and stones, planting food and helping out in little brick kitchens while the smoke filled the inside of the kitchen and your lungs.

It was only a few days upon my arrival when I then realized that these experiences made my body, mind and soul feel at peace a trillion times better than sitting down and roaming social media for hours and hours on end. There on a mountaintop, during a three hour hike to a village, I made my decision that I would take a break from social media as soon as I got back home to California.

Surrounding landscape on the hike up to the village of Las Latas.

Alexis Aguiniga
Surrounding landscape on the hike up to the village of Las Latas.

Upon my arrival and being a typical teenager living in the 21 century, that definitely didn’t happen.

It wasn’t until Sunday, March 20 when I really didn’t feel like doing anything at all, which is pretty unusual for me. I woke up that morning, and the first thing I did was pick up my cell phone and carelessly roamed various new social media feeds. During spring break, I got into the TV show Reign, which depicts Mary, Queen of Scots’ life at the French court. I became fascinated the actor who plays King Francis II of France, Toby Regbo, on the show. So, just like any new fan of a show, I followed his and the rest of the actors on social media. It was that Sunday when I was looking through Regbo’s Twitter account that I noticed his last tweet written on March 18:

“I think I’m gonna remove all my social media from my phone and computer for 3 months and see if it makes my brain happy. Laters.

A little lightbulb lit up above my head not because I had come up with an idea, but because I found something that gave me a little motivational push towards getting off of social media. Right after reading that tweet I immediately logged out of all of my social media accounts, including Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and of course, Twitter.

 

  • Celebrities going on social media breaks
  1. Ed Sheeran (musician)

“ Hello all. I’m taking a break from my phone, emails and all social media for a while, I’ve had such an amazing ride over the last 5 years but I find myself seeing the world through a screen and not my eyes so I’m taking this opportunity of me not having to be anywhere or do anything to travel the world and see everything I missed. To my family and friends, if you love me you will understand me buggering off for a bit, to my fans, the 3rd album is on its way and is the best I have made thus far. See you all next autumn, and thank you for being amazing.

Ed x”

 

  • Reasons why to go on a break
  1. I think the primary reason going on a social media break is a necessity for everyone is because social media is such a time-waster! One minute you’ll be scrolling through Instagram looking at vegan dishes, and before you know it, countless hours have passed and now you’re scrolling through the latest Kardashian celebrity fight on Twitter! It’s so easy to get lost for hours on social media, and because of that, it takes much of a person’s responsibilities.
  2. Social media gives users such a ‘fake’ perspective on life. Yeah sure, most of your followers are your friends but a large amount are also people with over 10k followers who literally model everything from their body to their food and pets. We are mesmerized with their picture-perfect lives and though most of us won’t admit it, it does have some effect on our self-esteem. It’s rare to see social media pages that evolve around real life problems people don’t normally reveal on social media.

 

  1. The drama that goes on in social media is absolute madness! Just reading all the online fights makes one feel so stupid because they’re always over the most simple and idiotic issue; it’s just insane. Take one of the most recent celeb fights on Twitter that made headlines everywhere between Amber Rose and the Kardashian gang that began when Rose called out the youngest sister Kylie Jenner for being too provocative and ending with a reconciliation with Kim Kardashian, the wife of her ex-boyfriend, Kanye West.

 

  • Benefits from going off
  1. No distractions: There will no longer be any lingering thoughts after you post something such as how many likes or comments you have received. No more instructions on how you should live you life or look or eat a particular way without making you feel ashamed about yourself.
  2. Appreciation: You’ll become aware of your surroundings and life will seem real! You’ll come to appreciate the little things you never were aware of due to the distraction of your electronic device.
  3. ‘A whole new world’: You’ll have free time to explore new things. All the hours you would’ve spent cruising through all forms of social media, you can now spend exploring new hobbies.
  • Social media good influence??
  • It can make your day: Everyone has their gloomy days and coming across a hilarious or heartfelt post can make one’s day either a lot or a bit better.
  • Promotions: An awesome way to get your small business known through social media!

 

  • How to have a ‘healthy relationship’ with social media
  1. Don’t get carried away: Most people absolutely loathe the thought of living their lives based on schedules. And yes, scheduling every single second of your daily life is pretty extreme so why not just schedule every single second you spend on social media. Everybody who goes on social media has most likely experienced hours on social media when in fact they originally intended to just see one post for like five seconds. Oh how time seems to fly these days and just remember...YOLO! So use the time you have on this wonderful yet mysterious world wisely by exploring and encountering the unknown through your eyes and not through a screen.
  2. When you see an awe inspiring post, don’t just like it and tell yourself you’re going to make that change when you know you’ll procrastinate and eventually won’t. Instead, when you see an awe inspiring post, like it, set your phone down and immediately get on track to JUST DO IT! Put in the effort to feel happy no matter what changes you have to make in order so you can look as happy as any inspirational posts you encounter. Everybody is special in their own weird ways but it’s not about their perfect-looking lives, it’s about you!
  3. Filter out the people whom you follow. Have a HUGE majority of the people you follow be people you know personally to get a chance to stay in touch/reconnect. And have a small portion of your followers be celebrities and workout/diet role models. That way you won’t be influenced in a way where you’ll be thinking negatively about yourself.

 

For today’s generation social media has become such a large part of our lives it’s basically just who we are. Peer pressure isn’t exactly what drives people on social media but in fact it’s just wanting to be connected with people and know what’s going on around you . The struggle is very  real for those who take the risk of going on a social media break. The withdrawal people face from social media causes such a huge disconnection making people feel anxious when not on it. The bottom line is that social media isn’t the problem; it’s how much you let it affect you.

Photo credit: Alexis Aguiniga

A woman caring for her child by the sun-lit door in Cerro del Niño.

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Opinion: Social media break