Does quitting social media make you happier? Yes, say young people doing it

Teenagers and young adults switching off from Facebook and other social apps reveal how the change has affected their lives.

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Does quitting social media make you happier? Yes, say young people doing it
Would you be happier if you didn’t have Facebook on your phone?

Our love of social media seems to have grown and grown in the past decade, but recent studies show the tide may be turning for some platforms, with young people in particular ditching Facebook. One study claims that more than 11 million teenagers left Facebook between 2011 and 2014. It’s been argued that they are swapping public platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for more private messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.

We asked Fabtechnoid’s younger readers whether they have quit social media and why, as well as what apps they are ditching. Almost all reported a greater sense of happiness after going offline. Here, we share some of their experiences.

Daisy, 23, Kampala: ‘I feel less anxious and less like a failure’

After a romance ended with a guy I really liked, I kept trying to avoid Facebook so I wouldn’t have to see him. It was after this that I gradually switched off from it, but before that I’d been wanting to quit for a while.

Facebook made me feel anxious, depressed and like a failure. When I went online it seemed like everyone was in America or China, and if they weren’t travelling they were getting engaged or landing great jobs. I felt like everyone was living the dream and I was still at home with my parents, with debt from my student loan hanging over me.

George Bukenya, 17, Mukono: ‘A lot of young people aren’t interested in Facebook any more’

When I first got Facebook, it appealed to me because I could talk to all my friends and see how they were feeling, but now it seems to have become more trivial. Instead of seeing what friends are putting up, I just see the articles that they “like” and other comments I’m not interested in. I want to concentrate on more useful things and I find it very distracting. I don’t worry about missing out on stuff, because I still use the Messenger app on Facebook to stay in touch with everyone.

I’ve been off Facebook for two weeks now and I don’t really feel tempted to go back. I’ve thought a few times about logging back in but I haven’t so far. Since I quit, no one has really spoken to me about it; everyone is busy focusing on school work.

Ben, 21, Masaka: ‘I have a much more positive mindset now’

I made a New Year resolution to cut down on my social media use. After doing this I started to ask, why am I using it at all? That’s why I’ve quit various platforms over the past year: Snapchat in November and Facebook in June. I’ve never really had WhatsApp or Twitter. I mainly used Facebook at university, for organising events and meet-ups, but I’ve gradually started to realise how pervasive is it. I also feel uncomfortable with the amount of time I used to spend on it.

I’ve always found social media to be an environment in which people constantly seek attention and validation through one-upping people’s comments, and boasting over likes and retweets.

Mulema Ali, 19, Kampala: ‘I don’t need to prove anything to people’

There’s so much negativity on social media, with people complaining about how tough their lives are (and these are the same people who post a picture of every meal they eat). That’s part of the reason I haven’t been using it for the past three years.

Komugisha Nixion, 25, UCU: ‘I can live my life instead of trying to shape it into one that looks good online’

I’d been thinking about quitting Facebook for a long time. I was sick and tired of people trying to force their political beliefs upon me, and I found it so depressing that people were repeating views they had heard that weren’t true.

 

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