Time for a Social Media Cleanse?

As we approach what seems to be a never ending social media cycle, many of us should stop to consider whether a cleanse would be beneficial.


Hillary Johnson, Contributer

Now, with the near-constant expansion of social media platforms, reflection about social media’s influence on your life is becoming increasingly necessary. For many, reducing their time on social media or even deleting the platforms altogether has had favorable outcomes. For others, however, social media can add positivity to their lives if used with caution. 

Junior Silvia Buziak deleted Instagram and Snapchat over a year ago and has kept TikTok and VSCO for minimal use. She uses TikTok for a total of only thirty minutes per week, primarily consuming tarot card readings and fashion videos. She claims, “The reason I kept TikTok is because it is enjoyable and because I learn things.” VSCO is an app that Silvia also utilizes to view friends and fashion accounts for about fifteen minutes per day. She explained that she still accesses this app because she enjoys editing and posting photos without the component of likes and comments that many other social media apps have. When asked why she deleted Snapchat and Tiktok, she states, “They are time-consuming and a constant distraction. They also constantly give you a superficial look into people’s lives.” After deleting Instagram and Snapchat, she reported having less fear of missing out and consumption of pointless drama. She also described how she stopped reading into superficial fronts that people put up. Silvia does, however, miss posting and seeing her friend’s pictures, as well as keeping in touch with people she does not see often. Silvia concludes that there are many benefits of deleting social media, and if she were to ever re-download these apps, she would use them with more caution. 

Ava Kakavand, a freshman, has also had Instagram deleted for two months and TikTok for one week, leaving her with no social media on her phone. Reflecting on her previous use of social media, Ava admits, “I would be upset if I saw friends hanging out without me.” Additionally, it caused her to have less time to do homework, as she spent around two and a half hours on social media every day. After deleting these apps, however, Ava has noticed that her screen time has been significantly reduced, giving her more time to do homework. Even if someone does not feel that social media causes problems, Ava believes that deleting social media apps is an eyeopener. Though she misses dancing to sounds on Tiktok, Ava said that she now listens to the songs on a different platform. Ava ultimately feels that the benefits of deleting social media outweigh the costs.

Freshman Taylor Chaplin has a different story. She deleted and recently redownloaded TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram. Taylor spent about two months without these apps, and now has had them redownloaded for about four months. Before deleting social media, Taylor realized that by looking at celebrities’ content, she was experiencing more issues with body image. During her social media cleanse, Taylor picked up new hobbies and her self-esteem went up. Since redownloading the apps, she has implemented changes in her habits, such as spending only fifteen minutes a day on social media apps. She has noticed that her interests have also changed, which altered the content she interacts with. Taylor has redownloaded social media since because she was not as social and felt left out of some conversations when the apps were deleted. Overall, Taylor recommends that if others see problems arising due to social media, they should delete the platforms to reflect on the positive and negative aspects the apps have.

Ms. Sullivan gives up Instagram and Snapchat every Wednesday and Sunday, giving her a different perspective. She stops using these apps on Wednesday in order to have a social media cleanse, and on Sunday to start the week spending time solely with family. Though she does not see many negative effects, Ms. Sullivan believes that social media causes her to lose humor in conversations. On the days that she uses social media, she very rarely uses Snapchat and monitors her time on Instagram. Social media allows Ms. Sullivan to follow charities, get parenting advice, and have a community of moms to keep in touch with. She believes that taking a break from social media allows for more productivity and time spent with loved ones. Though she loves the connections that come from social media, she also appreciates the time to cleanse from social media and enjoy a screen-free day. 

The interviewees all agreed that a break from social media can be beneficial for a variety of reasons, including increased productivity, less comparison with others, and fewer body image issues. On the other hand, they believe that the use of social media can have positive outcomes by allowing for connections with faraway friends and family, advice, and inclusion in conversations centered around social media platforms.

When considering a social media cleanse, it is important to be aware of the effects of social media on your mental health, and choose for yourself how to regulate usage.