Camille explores the Benefits of a Social Media Exam Detox

Social media has become an integral part of our daily lives. We wake up and check our phones, commute on the train and scroll through our feeds, enjoy some lunch and upload an image of it. The list is endless. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with being reliant on social media, however it can be a major distraction. It’s also a perfect way to procrastinate…take it from me.

  It’s coming up to the end of semester and due dates are creeping up quickly. It’s time to put our heads down and get it done. There’s research to do for a report, an essay to write and study notes to go through for an exam. Yet, instead of getting on top of it all, we’re mindlessly scrolling through Instagram and Facebook. Social media is taking over our lives and our time. I propose that it’s time we switch off and shift our priority and focus.

There are many benefits to a social media detox, especially during the end of semester. The first benefit is that you may end up gaining more sleep. The blue light from a phone or laptop can keep you and your mind active for hours. Taking a step back from social media, or technology in general, at night will make the winding down process more effective. Another helpful tip is turning your device onto night-time mode to eliminate blue light while you’re cramming for exams or completing assignments late at night.

The second benefit from a social media detox is your overall mood change. It’s no surprise social media can negatively affect your mood and mental health. By going offline and pursuing more active past times it may help bring about a more positive attitude and make you feel physically better. Stress levels are through the roof during the end of semester so instead of spending your study breaks on social media, go for a walk and take in some fresh air to increase your mood and productivity.

As of 2018, the average person’s daily social media use equated to two hours per day. That’s two extra hours you could use to get that assignment drafted or study notes written out. Two hours can easily fly by when you’re aimlessly scrolling through social media feeds. When you look back and ask yourself, “Was anything I read truly important to my everyday life?” The answer is usually no.

The last benefit comes from feeling like you’re not missing out on something important when you dissociate yourself from social media. Knowing what everyone is doing at all times is very tempting. Especially when you get caught up in what they’re doing instead of focusing on what you’re doing. You may find yourself distracted or you may feel as if you’re missing out on what they’re doing because of your university studies. At the end of the day, once you’ve finished all your assessments, you can continue with your social life like you were never gone.

I know there’s strong-willed people out there that don’t have to log off or “switch off” from social media to be able to prioritise the rest of their lives, but there are also a lot of people that find it difficult to do so. It can be extremely hard to go through with, so here’s some tips to resist the temptation.

[this awesome image "detox" courtesy of Vegan Liftz]

1. Turn off notifications

When you turn off notifications from your apps, you’re less likely to always check your phone. You’re more likely to forget about the apps if you can’t actively see the interactions going on.

2. Log off

Like turning off notifications, logging off can help you to switch your concentration to your studies rather than your phone. If you’re logged off, there’s a longer process to sign back in and it may deter you from using the app on an hourly or daily basis.

3. Remove the app off your phone

For those that just don’t have the willpower to not check social media, despite turning off notifications or logging out of the apps, deleting them from your phone is your best option. You won’t have any urges as you can’t see the app icons on your phone. One of my best tips to keep myself accountable and on track is to announce that I am switching off. People are then made aware that you’re not going to be online, and if you only last one day offline everybody will know about it.

4. Set time restrictions and limits

A new setting on iPhone allows you to set time limits and restrictions on apps. If you know you’re going to be at university from 9am to 5pm, you can turn on the downtime setting which restricts you from using apps unless you allow them to be seen (for example, the message and phone call apps). Another setting puts a time limit on certain apps. If you still want to keep Facebook, but want to limit your scrolling time, set a time limit. Once you’ve used up that time you won’t be allowed to use the app until it resets the next day.