In response to The Vanguard’s recent spread on a social media experiment conducted at the Upper School (Vol. 45, Issue 4, “An Addictive Art”), I wanted to offer my own opinion about social media use in our generation.
Every time I look around the Commons before school or during lunch, at least half of the room is scrolling through Instagram or sending Snapchats. Cut that number in half again, and those are the people Snapchatting friends who literally sit across the cafeteria or, worse, at the same table. It’s pathetic.
As a school, we should do something about it. We should channel those of the Vanguard experiment and all find a week—at least—before the end of the school year when we cut ourselves off of all our social media. We can tack it in our planners and actually delete all our social media apps during that time.
Now, I know that sounds terrible and like what all nagging adults say, but the students participating in the experiment enjoyed their time off from social media and realized that stepping away didn’t have as large of an impact on their life as they anticipated.
I’m another example. I used to be an avid Snapchatter—I’ll admit it. I had over 40 streaks (with one over 300 days!), and any time I posted a story to Snapchat, I would check every 3 to 5 minutes to see who had viewed it. Then at the beginning of this school year, I got lazy and let all my streaks die. What was this incessant Snapchatting adding to my life?
We have all been trained to believe that sending Snapchats, double tapping photos on Instagram, and clicking “like” buttons on Facebook are what we do every day, but has anybody even thought about why we do this? I don’t see any other purpose than lame entertainment and, for Snapchat, superficial conversation.
The unrealistic pressure of “looking good” in every photo we post or send is also absurd because nine times out of 10, if somebody really wants to see me, they can walk across the Commons and say hello. The pressure to look good that these social media platforms create is unhealthy for us and plainly ridiculous. We shouldn’t indulge in it so much.
Let’s put this social media hiatus to a test over Thanksgiving Break. Whether you’re helping to mash the potatoes, riding with your family to get a last-minute item from the grocery store, or even eating hors d’oeuvres before your Thanksgiving dinner, keep your phone tucked away—and for hours! I promise it won’t kill you.
I know I sound like everyone you have ever wanted to roll your eyes at, but I think you’ll come to agree with me if you give it a shot.
Annabel Kiley ’19