Social media blackouts

Internet presence influences students into “blackouts” where they lose track of time and their responsibilities.

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Ethel Yagudayeva

LOSING TRACK OF TIME: Teenagers find themselves spending hours a day on social media just scrolling or messaging their friends. Students are challenged with finding a balance between helpful and hurtful social media usage habits. “I want to maintain some degree of social interaction – especially during COVID – and social media makes that fun and easy,” senior Karen Baseves said.

Ethel Yagudayeva, Staff Writer

Thousands of people open up social media every day and mindlessly scroll through hundreds of photos and videos. They habitually find themselves in a black hole of time where they forget about their goals, homework, and many other responsibilities.

“[My blackouts] happened every week,” freshman Jennifer Oh said. “When I lose my focus on homework and decide to give in to looking at my phone or computer, I usually don’t realize how much time is passing and am shocked when I see that so much time has passed.”

Some people have successfully deleted a social media app and know how to control their urges and negative habits. To avoid blacking out, about 83 percent of students avoid their devices by putting it on Airplane Mode or Do Not Disturb Mode, or keep their devices in other rooms.

Social interaction keeps students from deleting social media, even if they see side effects. 53 percent of students have thought about deleting a social media app, and 30 percent have never considered it, as shown by the Union Street Journal’s survey of 110 Creek students.

“I used social media to post my drawings, and I deleted it because I started drawing just to post. Now, I have a lot more fun drawing what and when I want,” sophomore Selen Serdar said.

Drawing, cooking, and travel are all some of the many videos and posts that students scroll through all the time. Students claim that topics like these can better their lives.

“I think using social media for a good purpose, like spreading positivity, is good, but there are many negative things on there too; so, social media can definitely affect your daily mood,” Oh said. “For example, you could see a post that makes your day, but you can see a post that makes you angry or sad or other hateful comments that can ruin your day.”

Many users don’t realize that apart from the fear of missing out, the familiar existence of the social media apps is what keeps most users attached.

“I don’t entirely want to delete social media because I like the quick access to news and people afforded by social media,” senior Karen Baseves said. “I also want to maintain some degree of social interaction, especially during COVID, and social media makes that fun and easy.”

In fact, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok have ranked at the top three of the most time-consuming social media apps by Creek students according to the Union Street Journal’s survey. While these apps may be different, students enjoy them for their diverse content.

“Honestly, it was probably FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out), or the fear that something would happen, and I would have no idea what it was about,” Baseves said. “I like knowing what to expect, and the quick dispersion of information on social media makes it easy to stay on top of things and consistently know what’s trending, what’s ‘going on.’”

This familiar feeling of having the whole world at the palm of their hand gives many students the constant need to check what is going on around them. 79 percent of students agreed that this slowly progresses to the habitual clicking on the app, even without initial intent.

The majority of students use their devices between two to five hours per day, mostly during the weekends and remote days at home – enough time to lose track.

Even with the looming prospect of forgetting time, students feel that as long as they maintain healthy social media use habits, such as spending less than an hour per day on them or doing work before using social media.

“Use social media to the extent that you can still be productive and happy but don’t eliminate it,” freshman Vivan Prabhu said.