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Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

The student news site of Mill Valley High School

Mill Valley News

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Opinion: Jagwire reporter Maddie Martin shares her experience without social media

Though it started as a challenge, life without social media has been a positive for Martin
Opinion%3A+Jagwire+reporter+Maddie+Martin+shares+her+experience+without+social+media
By Barron Fox

It started as a challenge, sitting in my living room last February scrolling through my phone. A second to check the time on my phone became a two-hour rabbit hole. Then my dad decided to make a bet that I couldn’t go a month without social media to constantly entertain me. He made the mistake of betting I couldn’t do something, so I did it. I deleted Instagram and TikTok, my most used social media apps, and it was a better decision than I could have imagined.

I felt good, relieved really, more than I thought I would be. I don’t know why I didn’t realize sooner how social media affected my mental health. I didn’t feel jealousy or insecurity when looking at apps like Instagram, more so an intense feeling of missing out.

I can describe living without social media in two words: freeing and isolating. The biggest struggle has simultaneously been a positive

— Reporter Maddie Martin

The American Psychological Institute reported that those who engage in social status seeking and social comparison, on apps like Instagram, are likely to experience depressive symptoms, social anxiety and body image issues. These issues stem not simply from the use of the app but from the use of likes, comments and reposts that make people correlate their self worth to how popular their page is.    

The first week without social media was hard. I found myself constantly checking my phone but not having anything to look at. As time went on I stopped looking at my phone as much, only looking when I got a notification.

I can describe living without social media in two words: freeing and isolating. The biggest struggle has simultaneously been a positive: the fear of missing out on trends, news and important events in people’s lives. I genuinely believe that the things I miss out on are superficial, and the things I experience as a result of not being on my phone as much are more important than the next big trend on TikTok.

Now that I no longer see everyone’s perfectly picked profiles on Instagram, there is no comparing myself to others and no fear of missing out. I feel a sense of freedom not having to think about what everyone else is doing anymore.

Additionally, I discovered when there isn’t a constant distraction, you can get a lot done. I didn’t have some incredible epiphany about my life with all my extra time. Instead, I prioritized things I actually enjoyed. I did my schoolwork when I was supposed to, spent time with my family, kept my room clean and even found the time to read a book. I also discovered that when there isn’t something keeping you tied to your phone there is nothing to keep you up at night. I was able to get more sleep because I no longer spent hours before bed scrolling through TikTok, getting lost in the algorithms.    

It’s not the perfect solution though. People in my life make plenty of jokes I don’t understand because they came from TikToks I’ll never watch. I also miss current events and other noteworthy things going on in the community as I no longer see them plastered over my feeds.

Not having social media doesn’t stop me from finding other things to fill my brain to avoid important things. Starting a new TV show or watching hours of baseball highlights also make good ways to procrastinate my homework.

Over one year into not having Instagram and TikTok, it would be in-genuine to say that my life is completely different and that I don’t miss it at times. However, my answer when people ask me, “when are you getting social media back?” has stayed the same. I don’t know, and for all I can tell, I’m better off without something to constantly entertain me.

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About the Contributors
Maddie Martin
Maddie Martin, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Maddie Martin’s first year on the JagWire staff. She is looking forward to writing and taking pictures for the JagWire. She is on the golf team and is a part of Relay for Life. Outside of school she volunteers with National Charity League. She spends her free time hanging out with her friends and family, listening to music and watching sports.  
Barron Fox
Barron Fox, JagWire reporter/photographer
This is sophomore Barron Fox’s first year on the JagWire staff. He is looking forward to learning more in depth about designing, writing and photography. He is also involved with the musical, the play, Model UN, Youth for Refugees, debate, forensics and 4H. Barron enjoys hanging out with friends, gaming and cleaning. Barron is currently working at Pegah’s as a host and loves it! Barron is excited about this upcoming year and being a part of the JagWire staff.

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