Ariana Rodriguez | Staff Writer
Every time I walk through the Graham Center, people distracted by their phones bump into me and often aren’t looking wherever they’re headed. Am I crazy or is that unhealthy?
The endless loop of social media can bring in both addiction and fatigue; exhaustion from seeing the same content, or a sore thumb from all the scrolling. Waking up first thing in the morning to check Instagram and going to sleep late off TikTok is not just a toxic cycle, but harmful.
But it’s much easier said than done to simply put the phone down. Social media addiction manifests itself through an overwhelming amount of trending apps and constant dopamine hits. This feel-good chemical, released during pleasurable activities such as eating or exercise, works as a reward system in the brain.
The constant dopamine hits can overload the reward system and make you hungry for more. Nobody opens TikTok just to view “one video” or Instagram to like “one post”. It’s endless.
There is such a thing of too much of a good thing and this addiction can lead to a hollow feeling inside.
Everyone is glued to their phone and bumping into each other, swiping endlessly on their rectangle screen. It’s disheartening since I feel like students lose opportunities to engage with other students because social media gives us an escape from the real world..
Rather than staying after class and engaging in conversations, everyone runs out the door and hops in the elevator, taking out their phone, and running to the garage. This especially goes for FIU commuters.
Moreover, students don’t take advantage of academic resources such as events or conferences since they will never be more entertaining than the phone.
On another note, people lose social awareness when stuck on the phone. Whether it’s driving and not noticing the green light, standing in line not noticing you’re next, or not clicking the button on the elevator, people are disconnected from the real world.
With social media taking up a significant portion of time, students may find themselves spending less time engaging in face-to-face interactions. The convenience of digital communication can lead to a decline in social skills, making it difficult for students to navigate real-world relationships effectively.
Social media can be a crutch for numerous things such as avoiding awkward small talk or checking Instagram while waiting in line for Pollo Tropical.
This can result in a lack of empathy, communication, and emotional intelligence, essential components of social awareness. Further, this can lead to students retreating from real life and focusing on the digital realm.
One of the most significant dangers of social media is the illusion of the connection it creates. College students often find themselves spending hours on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, believing they are fostering real relationships. However, these interactions are often superficial, and the sense of connection they provide is, in many cases, fleeting and illusory.
So many times I see the phrase “campus celebrity” referring to someone following another student on social media, however, they usually never interact. To me, campus celebrity is just a parasocial relationship, you likely have never met the person your friend’s friend follows, so why bother?
Everything is just a tap away, and a lot of times people are an open book on social media. It’s what attracts others, the constant posting and uploads of their daily life. What we see on social media is not all true, yet we can’t help but look at it.
With more and more content to consume, it can be exceedingly difficult to ignore the urge to check everyone’s Instagram story or the 50 TikToks your best friend sent you, but we must make an effort to reduce our screen time. Not only for our health but for everyone around us.
From one burnt-out student to another, I understand the urge to scroll endlessly or drown in YouTube videos and let the screen time skyrocket.
But we need to discipline ourselves with our devices and strike a balance between online and offline lives, develop critical thinking skills, and be mindful of the way we engage with social media to avoid these pitfalls and foster a deeper, more meaningful understanding of the world and those around us.