College students live in an age where a phone in our pocket is more common than a pen. Whether we are flipping through our phones for a split second to check the latest gossip or swiping left on Tinder in search of a significant other, millenials are addicted to social media.
You have probably seen it before: a teen clutching their phone and crying their eyes out over an Instagram post. At work, a supervisor is giving their monthly spiel, and you look over to see that one coworker with his nose buried in his phone, completely ignoring his surroundings.
This society we live in is so reliant on instant gratification that we use social media to satisfying our cravings. Students have an insatiable attraction to social media. Do I have your attention now or are you on your phone?
Don’t get me wrong, there are many benefits that social media can provide. Social media can connect you instantly with new people that might be outside of your typical social sphere. Just a few clicks and you are on Facebook exploring events that are happening near you. Instagram influencers can make millions for posting pictures with paid partnerships on their accounts.
However, social media is not always beneficial. What happens when those non-tangible desires cannot be fulfilled? That creeping feeling of loneliness emerges, and the cogs of depression begin to turn. I can admit I feel depressed when an Instagram post of me or my photography doesn’t get as many likes as pumpkin latte foam art.
In a study conducted at Ohio State University, professors found that college students who use social networks had significantly lower grade-point averages than those who didn’t.
In his book “Deep Work — Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World”, Dr. Cal Newport explains that the future leaders of our generation are losing their capacity to effectively maintain concentration when conducting tasks that require a magnitude of focus.
Multiple clinical studies have been conducted to illustrate the harms that social media can bring, such as anxiety, depression and eating disorders.
For those who think, it is impossible for some people to maintain economic prosperity and happiness without using social media, I would like to reinforce that the world will still function without social media tycoons. After all, cavemen invented fire without Twitter.
A solution may seem as simple just turning off the phone, but social media developers are tasked with making social media as addicting as possible. Snapchat even invented “streaks” to keep users logging on every day.
The fragmented attention of those consumed by digital dopamine is real. Social media is not harmless. Instead of focusing on their work, students are trying to find the hottest new match on Tinder or mindlessly scrolling through their news feeds. Get off the phone, learn a new skill.