Becca Hope, a Psychology student at LJMU, typically spends about 3-4 hours a day on social media, with the majority of this time spend at night just before she goes to sleep.
“I flit back and forth between Instagram and Twitter mainly, with time also spent on Facebook and Snapchat. I use them to keep up-to-date with what my friends are up to. I also use Twitter to see funny tweets, memes and videos. Whereas Instagram is more focused on what my friends are doing and celebrity updates, as well as fashion and travel inspiration. Once I start scrolling through my timeline I can get very caught up and lose track of time easily.”
Becca recently decided to use a feature on her phone in order to reduce the time she spent on social media.
“Screen Time gives you a breakdown of how much time you’ve spent on your phone that day and splits the time up into categories, one being social networking. Finding this feature is what prompted me to try a social media detox, as I was shocked at how much time I actually spent on my phone. I decided to try to reduce my time down to two hours per day. This proved to be really quite manageable.”
It didn’t stop there though, Becca decided to take it one step further:
“I began to wonder what it would be like if I tried a few days without going on social media at all, trusting that if someone needed me they’d text or call instead. I did this by deleting my Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook apps entirely. To be completely honest, I did really struggle with this, I felt stressed at the thought that someone had tagged me in something or sent me a message and were wondering why I was being so rude and ignoring it. I also found myself a lot more bored in the evening, especially when all my Uni housemates were talking about things they had seen on Instagram or Snapchats they had sent to each other throughout the day. So after two days, I reinstalled all my apps and went back to the two-hour limit that I had set, deciding this was a fair amount.”
“Having tried both restricting my use and stopping my use entirely, I found that having a balance is the best way. I noticed over a few weeks that I was getting more sleep, due to reducing how much time I spent on social media at night, and that I felt present when I was with my friends, instead of sitting on my phone scrolling through Twitter for the sake of it. I also noticed changes in my mood, perhaps due to increased sleep time. I felt like I had a little more energy than usual.”
Becca’s tips for fellow students who want to lessen their time on social media:
“Make use of the iPhone Screen Time feature if you have it. If not, perhaps just set yourself a time limit mentally and make note of how much time you’re spending on social media, being strict with yourself when you reach that time.
“What I found that helps is spending more time doing other little things and keeping busy, such as cleaning your room or going to a friend’s room for a chat if you live with other people. Going to the gym or going for a walk and keeping your phone in your pocket also helps, as you occupy yourself and get away from the temptation for an hour or so. Nevertheless, my main tip would be to just monitor yourself and stay aware of the damages that too much social media use can have on your physical and mental health.”
Julia Harrison, a Business Studies student, typically uses social media for about two hours a day. Primarily an Instagram and Facebook user, Julia did a social media detox after she realised she was using the apps to avoid revising for exams.
“When I would be revising I would often, out of habit, go on my phone onto Instagram or Facebook, and before I knew it about 10 minutes had gone past and I wouldn’t even be able to remember what I was looking at. I was surprised how hard I found it not to go on my phone, it made me realise I had a bad habit and always reached out for it or thought I needed to check my social media. I started leaving my phone at home, when I would go to gym and yoga classes and deleted my social media apps so I wasn’t temped to go on them when revising. It majorly helped my revision and keeping a clear mind, but I was quite concerned and surprised how difficult I found it.”
“The time I spend on social media would be so much more useful and beneficial to me if I put this time into other things.”
Julia’s tips for fellow students who want to reduce their time on social media:
“Start leaving your phone at home when you don’t essentially need it or even leave it in another room around the house when at home. I really found it useful just deleting the apps, as then I would only use my phone when I really needed to. I am someone who always uses their phone for the calendar and using the notes app for writing lists of things that I need to do. But using my phone for this often would just cause me to drift onto my social media. Instead I started writing lists down and using a calendar book. Reducing my usage of social media has had such a positive impact on my mind and has allowed me to concentrate more on other things such as reading books and fitness classes.”
Spending too much time on social media can affect your mental wellbeing. If you feel your social media usage might be having a negative impact on your life, check out our 6 tips to reduce your time on social media.
The wellbeing of our students is vital to us at Liverpool John Moores University. Student Advice and Wellbeing provide a range of services to support students to be healthy and happy in academic, social and student life. Find out more about health and wellbeing support at LJMU.