Not to state the obvious, but we use our devices too much.
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Let’s be honest, 2023 was not a good year to be on social media. How about: It seems that, as we march further into the clutches of late-stage capitalism, our internet-safe havens get worse in an attempt to make billionaires more money. Apps like TikTok, Instagram, and X (formerly Twitter) do nothing but spy on us, ruin our self-esteem, and let racists run rampant — all while co-opting each other’s features (YouTube Shorts? Instagram Reels? What’s the difference?)
Now that 2024 has arrived (way too fast, I swear it was November last week), a new year means new resolutions for many. For me, one of those resolutions is giving up social media. Now, I won’t try and convince you to leave social media completely — because studies show that, despite the known harm it does to our brain, we still love using it — but if you do want to quit and don’t know how I’ve got you covered.
Delete social media apps or limit notificationsThe first and most obvious step in starting your digital detox in 2024 is to delete the apps. This advice may sound simple, but it isn’t. Social media is increasingly the main source of information in our lives, so going cold turkey can be hard. Plus, like all addictions, you may end up replacing one vice with another equally unhealthy one.
This drastic step can significantly improve mental health and sleep quality while boosting productivity. It also encourages more meaningful real-life interactions and a greater focus on personal goals, leading to enhanced overall well-being.
There are some less extreme ways of quitting social media, of course. Experts suggest putting obstacles in your way to limit how much social media grabs your attention in your day-to-day. This includes actions such as muting notifications from social media apps or bundling notifications for the apps so they only get delivered once or twice a day. It also helps to develop an awareness of how you use your phone, as pointed out by Mashable’s Rebecca Ruiz.
Try app blockers or limitsOne of the biggest obstacles when trying to leave social media is discipline. If you want to force your hand towards quitting in 2024, try an app blocker. The built-in app limits on iPhone or app blockers such as Opal offer a balanced approach to reducing social media use. They help in gradually decreasing dependence by setting controlled access times, which can lead to improved focus and reduced distraction. This method is beneficial for those seeking a less abrupt transition than quitting cold turkey, aiding in better time management and healthier digital habits.
Additionally, apps like Forest provide a unique and engaging way to limit social media use by encouraging users to focus on tasks while a virtual tree grows, intertwining productivity with environmental mindfulness and making the process of digital detox more rewarding and visually satisfying. This is great if you like your social media apps and don’t want to delete them but still want to limit your use.
If you don’t want to use another app to limit your social media use, or you know it’ll be a hard process for you, try leveraging the support of your family and friends. Your loved ones can help fill the social void left by your digital detox, offering real-world interactions and activities instead. This emotional cushion may help mitigate feelings of isolation or anxiety that could arise from disconnecting from online networks.
Assistant Editor, General Assignments
Currently residing in Austin, Texas, Chance Townsend is an Assistant Editor at Mashable. He has a Master’s in Journalism from the University of North Texas with the bulk of his research primarily focused on online communities, dating apps, and professional wrestling.
In his free time, he’s an avid cook, loves to sleep, and “enjoys” watching the Lions and Pistons break his heart on a weekly basis. If you have any stories or recipes that might be of interest you can reach him by email at [email protected].