According to a study by Emarketer.com, 77.5% of Gen-X and 90.4% of millenials are active social media users. Another, by PsychCentral.com, states that college students spend about 10 hours a day on their cellphones. Whether that’s Youtube, Instagram, or texting, the majority of students spend almost half the day looking at their phones. While technology becomes an ever present fact of life, one WMU student has made it a point to limit his use.
Robert Craig, a WMU junior studying public relations, spends a maximum of two hours a day on his phone, and does not have any social media apps downloaded. This started about a year ago when Craig realized how much of his time was spent on his phone, and he wanted to change that.
“I found myself becoming very distracted by constantly feeling the need to check social media even to the point where I would just stare and refresh my feed even when no new content has been posted,” Craig said. “I stopped, looked up, and realized how much of my life is being wasted on consumption of meaningless media.”
Craig said that not having social media downloaded and not going on his phone often has greatly changed his everyday life.
“My day to day life has improved massively because of this,” Craig said. “I have noticed a beneficial change in my mental health after reducing social media and I have much more free time (with) less distractions.”
According to Pew Research Center, 1 in 5 U.S adults say they get the majority of their news on social media. While many claim social media keeps them connected and up to date on the world, Craig does not feel like staying off his phone has negatively affected him in any way.
“I stay more up to date, my attention is more focused, and I am able to retain more due to the lack of distractions,” Craig said.
He added that his lifestyle transformation has changed the way he looks at the world and the way he views issues.
“These apps create a filter bubble within our lives, for one to be balanced they must also pay attention to the viewpoints of the side you disagree with, this way you are grounded in both opinions and can then deduce your own understanding,” Craig said. ”Filter bubbles can block opposing views, reducing exposure and increasing only a few messages isn’t.”
Craig said because of how much this has changed his life, he highly recommends others do something like it too.
“Please try it just for a few days,” he said. “It’s weird at first but soon enough you forget about the apps entirely and then bliss.”