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Why I Deleted My Instagram

Image: Andrea Comi

In this day and age, and especially in our generation, social media is a vital part of our lives today. Critics often claim that young people these days don’t know how to properly communicate with others and that this generation has seen an increase in depression which they link to the use of social media.

I am not here to defend or support these claims, but I want to talk about my own experience with Instagram & how deleting it has affected me.

It almost seems odd to think that an app can have so much effect on your life. However, I have noticed that I would spend a lot of time on Instagram even when I didn’t want to. I felt a necessity to scroll all the way to the bottom of my feed and when I was bored, I would instinctively open Instagram and check out the explore page.

Now these things may not appear to be so bad, and I agree, they aren’t too bad. However it was when I began to get obsessed with the numbers that I realized I needed a break. I have always kind of enjoyed statistics, especially coming from swimming, a sport that is all around numbers. I have grown accustomed to counting my laps, my strokes, my breathes, & chasing time standards. Maybe this made me more susceptible to caring about Instagram numbers, because I had already kind of defined my own self worth with numbers.

Instagram likes became another number I felt was important in my own value. I would constantly check after posting a picture to track the progress of my likes, and I would feel genuine sadness if it did not reach expectation. I would compare myself to other people, who I immediately presumed were cooler for the numbers they got on their Instagram.

I would constantly check after posting a picture to track the progress of my likes, and I would feel genuine sadness if it did not reach expectation.

I don’t want to get too deep into body image issues with Instagram because that is a whole other issue. Most of us are aware that the pictures are fake because they are the staged and oftentimes altered edition of split moments. But we can never be too sure, and the constant bombardment of a single ideal of beauty can be damaging to self worth.

It was all of this coupled with the time spent on Instagram that made me decide that I wanted... or maybe even needed to quit.

I deactivated my account, meaning no one can find it if they search me, but it is admittedly temporary and reversible. However this week has been one of the nicest weeks yet. I find that I am more productive and that it feels like I have more time.

Sometimes checking Instagram felt like a chore, but without that, I was freed up to pursue other things. I will say that I most definitely experienced “fomo” as the kids called it. Especially when people referenced other’s experiences that they knew from their instagrams. I don’t know why I cared to know what everyone was doing, but I definitely felt like I was missing out. Another thing that I realized was that when I was bored I just had the natural inclination to want to check Instagram. Instead, sometimes I’d check other things. For instance, I found myself briefly scrolling on LinkedIn when I was on it, something that has never happened before.

To me the most surprising thing however, was that people noticed which I guess isn’t too shocking, but people also cared. In fact I got multiple texts asking what happened to my account, and more people wondering if I had blocked them. I didn’t expect people to notice, but as I had said before, social media is pretty in with the kids these days.

 

It’s been a week since I got rid of Instagram, and I can definitely say that I think I will continue this, at least for a couple more days. I think I need a break to remember the true worth of myself, and put Instagram into context. It is only an app, and likes are not representative of your friends, your worth, or your importance.

It is only an app, and likes are not representative of your friends, your worth, or your importance.

I cannot attest to whether or not Instagram is the direct cause of increased depression or anxiety among youths, but personally I believe that it is definitely plausible. I would advise that the best thing you can do is to stay aware. Notice your own feelings and manage them in a responsible way. If you feel like you are comparing yourself to others, or stressing out when you post, it may be time to quit the app.

It doesn’t have to be permanent, but try it. Notice the difference and take action from then!

I hope you enjoyed this.

Thank you! :)