Is social media unhealthy?
Spoiler alert — in general, yes, it is. And in general, the cons of using social media are way more than the advantages.
In terms of physical health, it can be detrimental because you’re spending all this time in front of a screen, and your posture probably isn’t optimal, which leads to a whole bunch of other issues over time.
In terms of mental health, consider the following (this list is by no means complete):
- Decreased attention span
- Feelings of envy, jealousy, loneliness
- Detachment from the real world
- Huge waste of time
- Huge distraction (e.g. notifications)
- Fear of missing out, anxiety
I am not suggesting social media is intrinsically bad. The question is, though: is it bad for you?
There is one simple way to find out…
Try a social media detox
In my article about energy vampires (people who drain your energy) I mentioned that the easiest way to spot one is to pay attention to your own feelings after you meet them.
If you tend to feel tired, unhappy, or even physically sick right after you’ve spent time with someone, it’s usually a red flag.
If you’re not sure, then simply stop seeing them for a while. After a week or so, pay attention to your feelings.
Do you feel calmer? Do you feel a sense of relief, liberation, or positivity that cannot be explained by anything else in particular? That’s a clear sign.
Now, this is a great analogy for what’s called a social media detox.
Not sure whether social media is a good or a bad thing (for you)? Then just go on a detox. A week, two weeks, a month. Then see how you feel after it.
Be in a situation where you do not have access to any of your profiles. No notifications, no news, no new messages or followers, etc. Unless it’s for work.
If you notice your mental health improves (or if you notice you are overall calmer and happier), it’s time to turn the detox into a habit.
5 reasons to go on a social media detox
- More time. Obvious one. And if it doesn’t sound like a lot, check your current screen time. If you can’t check it, then try and track it. I guarantee you spend way too much time on social media. What if you took that time and invested it in things that are actually meaningful? It would change your life.
- More clarity. Are you living your own life, or everyone else’s idea of what life should look like? Are you setting goals that are right for you, or someone else’s goals? It’s way too easy to get stuck in the endless cycle of comparing and jealousy if you use social media too often, or if you use it mindlessly.
- More willpower. If you’re part of the tiny percentage of people who actually have the discipline to delete their socials (for a while, or permanently), congrats — it means you have enough willpower to do so. Not only that, not being exposed to the constant stream of messages and notifications will give you even more willpower.
- A fresh start. Say you want to move to a new city, forget your old self and your old life, and start it all over again. This is one of the best feelings in the world, by the way — I’ve done it myself and know people who’ve done the same. Now, can you really do that if you stay on social media? Not really. You don’t have to quit forever, but you do want to “detox”.
- More privacy. You don’t need to share everything you do with the whole world. You may have been convinced that it’s normal to do so, but really, it’s not. Just like it’s important to share our feelings and experiences with the people around us, it’s equally important to have privacy. And being more private does have benefits.
Best social media detox quotes
Are you using your device or is your device using you?Denzel Washington
When it comes to social media, there are just times I turn off the world. Sometimes you have to give yourself space to be quiet, which means you’ve got to set those phones down.Michelle Obama
I would say for my generation, specifically, social media has really been terrible. It does scare me when you see how exposed these young boys and girls are. I would be careful and allow yourself some time limits of when you should use it.Selena Gomez
I just don’t like this compulsive, instantaneous, over-information, lack-of-privacy, weirdo aspect of the world.Drew Barrymore
It is not what you shout out to the world that determines your life; it is what you whisper to yourself that has the most power.Abigail Horne
In a world where everyone is overexposed, the coolest thing you can do is maintain your mystery.Unknown
I think it’s important to try and be present with whatever it is that you’re doing. And if you can’t be present, take a break.Emily Giffin
The thought that so many people get their news from social media really is scary.Rush Limbaugh
In a funny way, I think social media is making people less rather than more experimental. People are too worried about looking good all the time. When I grew up you could get it all horribly wrong and it didn’t matter, there was no record.Patrick Grant
The problem with social media is you can figure out too much, and usually it’s info you are happier without.Unknown
Social media is an advertisement for the superficial extroverted self.Hozier
Some people can’t sleep because they have insomnia. I can’t sleep because I have an internet connection.Unknown
The problem is that technology has become an extra limb for some of us. It’s important to utilize technology, but at the same time it’s important to know when to take a break from it.Alex Broches
It takes discipline not to let social media steal your time.Alexis Ohanian
No posting. No liking. No sharing. Just living.Unknown
Instead of diversity and originality, what the majority of people on social media appear to want is more of the same. Conformity is rewarded by both the community and the system — what we like most drives the algorithms, which in turn feed us more indistinguishable content.Katherine Ormerod
Technology doesn’t just do things for us. It does things to us, changing not just what we do but who we are.Sherry Turkle
The challenge for a human now is to be more interesting to others than his or her smartphone.Alain de Botton
Don’t compare your real life to someone else’s controlled online content.Laura Distin
The best therapy is to take a break from routine.Unknown
Social media has given us this idea that we should all have a posse of friends, when in reality, if we have one or two really good friends, we are lucky.Brene Brown
The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.Steven Furtick
Best social media detox quotes (YouTube comments)
Posting quotes about social media detox… taken from YouTube, which technically is social media as well. Ironic.
But I found these to be very inspiring.
Most of these are stories of people like you and me who realized that social media was too draining, and too time-consuming, and decided to take a break. Or just quit.
And found that not only did they not need social media at all — quitting was a liberating experience as well.
The horrible thing about social media is how everyone compares their life only to what others let them see. It’s not a fair comparison.Jubach
I deleted Instagram. I’m free. Life is so short. Social media makes time go faster. I would hate to get old and only remember being on social media all my life. Take your power back.Brightside786
Getting rid of social media made me feel uncomfortable at first. You feel disconnected from people but all you’re missing is people just talking online. Honestly, getting rid of Facebook and all other social media platforms was the best decision I ever made.Lewis Harwood
Whenever I feel myself getting hooked I do a one-week detox, not just with social media. Pretty much anything that makes me feel like I’m dependent on it, whether it’s a beverage, or an app, or whatever. That week lets me do some growth, and when I get back to that thing, I know for sure I’m consciously using it.Lana Nassif
I’ve gone one week without social media and the first two days I had withdrawal, but then I got used to it over time. I actually like people not knowing what I’m up to and being in my business.Candy
I remember I grew increasingly unhappy with social media, specifically Instagram. I just felt like I always had to keep up with the Joneses even though I had found minimalism last year, so bringing in more material items wouldn’t have made me happy. Not to mention the fact that we only show the best of ourselves on social media, and the comparison of someone else’s life can really hurt your self esteem.Cassidy Mickey
I decided to step away from social media for a couple months, and I am just entering my third week without it. There are times when I just want to know what is going on, but I’ve also realized that life is so damn beautiful without it.Mayra Cortes
I haven’t used social media for a bit more than two years now. The feeling of freedom after two days is comparable to stopping working and getting paid anyway.Shiny Bug
My phone broke recently, and it was the absolute best thing that’s ever happened to me. The battery didn’t work. It died while charging, didn’t hold a charge after being unplugged, and I couldn’t bring it to school or to social gatherings. I felt more connected to the people in my life who care about me more than just commenting a compliment on my Instagram photo, and I sewed more, did more art, and did much better in school.Marissa LeighAnne
The fact that there’s a thing called “social detox” has to say a lot about the magnitude of how addictive it is!Pravallika Chowdhary
When I quit social media I had control over my actions. I was listening to my mind instead of listening to people on social media.Mano Shrudeep
I was forced to get rid of my social media. Despite not having it, it actually helped me better focus on myself and try new things. I feel way better than when I had social media.FuturisticJosh
At the beginning of each year there are storms, and my power will go out for a day or so, and it always makes me realize how much I rely on social media and the internet for keeping my mind interested. With the lack of social media, I have to find new interests, and make my brain think.Anorak
I lost my phone and couldn’t afford to buy a new one at the time. So I was isolated from social media for over three months, and it was so wonderful. I had this feeling that every morning I was more fresh! Seriously, I don’t know if it was the phone or social media. But regardless, it’s a great result.Jewel Fornillas
I’ve gone almost three years without social media and it was the best decision of my life.Grace Slayton
Thinking about how simple life was before social media and internet accessibility to the masses. I’m 32 years old and I feel the bare brunt of this phenomenon. At 21 I took a 22-hour road trip with friends for my birthday. Spent a whole week in Orlando and all of this was before social media addiction. I remember how focused we were on being present because being present was all there was.Jay Freytes
I’m in the military and got rid of social media right before I left home. Here’s what happened since: I don’t care about being popular anymore; I’m embracing being an introverted loner; I’ve stopped comparing myself to others; I’m forgetting about the toxic people I’ve encountered back home; drama has been significantly reduced.Jack Carraway
Social media, for me, has trashed my mental health. What I thought was “confidence” was posting every selfie where I thought I looked perfect and working out just so I could show my body off to everyone else. Looking back, I wasn’t confident. A confident person doesn’t need others to validate their every photo.P M
Life without social media is pure bliss. The pull toward social media as times goes by is hatred to delete, you have to do it cold turkey. I love and value social media free life.Ashley Williams
When I deleted all my socials on March 13th of 2021, I felt more in power of what I was doing, I was less distracted, and became an even more disciplined person.S-HOST
I feel social media was toxic for me. I just finally found it pointless and exhausting seeing other people’s lives and thoughts. I just kept comparing my life and trying to portray something. It feels good to not lurk and compare anymore.Diana Aguiniga
I’ve been off social media for about a year or so and it has honestly boosted my self confidence and attention span greatly.Hnlh
It’s been almost a year for me and it works wonders. You’re just more focused. The hard part for me was seeing who really reaches out to you, including your family, but also knowing everyone is still connected but me. Makes you feel “left out”, but best decision ever made.Jeremy Gutknecht
Removing social media out of your life is like going back to the old days where we used old phones without access to the internet yet. I was born in the 90s and life back then was, for me, simple and peaceful.Mark Uchiha
The best thing to do is to delete it completely. Since it’s so addicting, setting limits will probably not work. I was surprised about how little I missed it, since it consumed so much of my life before.Jocelyn Katz
I’ve been taking a break from social media due to me being sick and it gave me less stress about what people are saying about each other on the internet. Social media is full of toxic people, regardless of their age, who talk down on each other and want to act better than one another.NJPW Girl
I left most of social media last year. Now that it’s been a year that I left most of social media I will say my life has been more productive. Like, I can focus on my life, work, hobbies, and working out. I only use Instagram now, but don’t post much on it. Life without social media is much better.Ruben Garcia
I deleted all my social media accounts permanently in August 2021 and I have been happier since. I remember constantly getting anxiety and not feeling good at the end of the day when I used to use my social accounts, but now I have more time for myself and also I feel more wholesome! I too lost a lot of friends and many of them still think I did it to “look different”, but honestly, I did it for my mental health, and it was the best decision I ever made.Debashree
I have been off social media for two months now, and my plan was to go back in summer time, but looking at my current situation I actually don’t plan on getting back. Instagram was especially really toxic, and getting out of there was one of my best decisions ever.SpaceLifts
The first thing I noticed after quitting social media was how much everyone else was using their phones.Kaley Breen
Social media connects you closer to people far away, and creates distance between you and the people close to you.Salvatore Ferma
I have been living without social media for a year now. A lot changed in my life. I read sixty books, I changed my lifestyle, I learned new things, I started learning new languages, I got back to drawing, I started to wake up early and sleep early and found that it actually suits my lifestyle. I decluttered a lot of unnecessary stuff in my house, came to the concept of minimalism where I started to live with less items. Getting rid of social media is the best decision I have made in my life.Amal Yagoub
After quitting social media I understand how much I compared my life with others.Nazmul Hassan
After being a complete Instagram addict for years, I deleted my account three months ago, and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. You sometimes feel like you’re missing out on things, but the benefits of not being on Instagram 24/7 — not wasting your time scrolling and looking at what other people are doing — completely compensate for the feeling of missing out. I highly recommend it to anyone who does not financially depend on Instagram.Veronica Quesnel
Honestly, if social media isn’t going away anytime soon, then it’s up to us people to leave social media. We can show how our lives are better off without it. Whoever created social media to begin with, they really tried to control us, but we can break that cycle.Nessie
I have been off social media for years. It has been great to not have all those distractions.Erick Ramseier
I can’t even imagine going back anymore. Deleting social media is honestly one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.Sofie B
I deleted my Instagram back in June. I only had one person ask me about it. That just shows how irrelevant you really are unless you’re posting. I feel so much more disconnected (in a good way) from everyone. Away from the online drama and feeling the need to post for others’ approval. I feel so much better about social interactions with people now.Kirsten Stegeman
Have YOU ever done it?
I’m curious — have you ever done this yourself?
Have you ever realized that all these social profiles were simply too draining, and decided to quit — for a day, a week, or permanently?
Leave a comment below and share your experience with us! 👇