Social media dominates Generation Z
According to research by Common Sense Media, the average teenager spends up to nine hours per day consuming media. That’s nine hours of, among other things, YouTube videos, Instagram posting and browsing, Snapchat and Snapchat Streaks. Nine hours of time dedicated strictly to something that doesn’t matter, and that distracts from the things that do.
Of those nine hours, more than a quarter of that time is spent on social media, which has been correlated with both anxiety and depression. We’re passing our days focused on “likes”, comparing ourselves to others, and spending more time on media than we are sleeping, working, or studying. My generation is exhausted, and we’re only in our second decade of life.
Staying connected and maintaining our social standing is extremely important to my generation. But in our excessive focus on social media, we’re missing out on the real importance of actually being social. We may spend six hours a day, five days a week at school. Maybe we work at a part time job with customers. We might hang out with friends on the weekends. But during almost all of that time we are also staring at our phones or computers.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines addiction as “an inability to stop doing or using something, especially something harmful.” As a teen living in this connected era, I can’t think of a more accurate description of the nine hours we’re spending on media each day. It’s not just entertainment, it’s the beginning of a mental health crisis.
There is one solution for this disease: limit time on social media. Escaping this addiction leaves more time for exercise, really hanging out with friends instead of commenting on their posts, and finishing homework on time. Limit your screen time and you’ll be less tired, more happy, and less stressed out. Any addiction can be hard to let go of, and most have horrible side effects of withdrawal, the only side effect of this is positivity. Create a better life for yourself and quit the addiction that’s running it for you.