Social media algorithms are wasting our lives for us

Every single morning when I wake up, my first instinct has become to reach for my phone and see who has tried to get ahold of me while I was asleep.

I allow hundreds of different voices into my mind before I’ve even had a chance to wake up fully. Snaps, Instagram stories, text messages, emails…every form of communication all contained in one small rectangular object that rarely leaves my side.

I believe that the more technology progresses and integrates itself into the average person’s life, the more we have to be aware of what is entering our minds. Once I began to realize the danger in this absurd amount of media consumption, I began to question almost everything that passed from a screen to my eyes.

Research shows that the algorithms that we consume are tied to what makes us spend the most time on that specific application.

The more time you spend on that app, the more money its creators rake in.

There are individuals in the media workforce whose jobs specifically rely on researching what it means to create effective and enticing algorithms to ensure people cant click away.

Personally, I believe this position is a position based on control; after all, the ultimate goal that drives this career is based on how to waste people’s time endlessly scrolling on things that more than likely don’t even matter.

To narrow it down to more of a specific audience, my generation especially has grown up with the rise of social media, something no generation before has had to contend with.

A technologically apt world surrounds us on all sides, and if you do not take part in that world, it must be an active choice to not do so.

Students my age have trouble focusing on what they are actually in college for because their phones are taking all their attention during times that they said they were going to study.

We post on Instagram and are flooded with notifications–but do we allow what we see others to post to bleed into what we believe about reality?

There have been very few longterm studies so far showing how this much media affects us, but the ones that have been taking place aren’t pretty.

Increased rates so anxiety, low self-esteem and even depression are slowly being tied to over-consumption to the digital world, but like any other new advancement, we wont know the full effects for years still.

If we are not aware of the dangers in the media and how that affects our mentality, then I would argue that we’re not ready for the media at all.

Society has become addicted to the dopamine hits that ensue after what only gives us temporary pleasure–substances, social media, consumerism on all fronts.

Instant gratification has become more important to true connection with those around us. When I pass by a group of teenagers, I am more likely to see them staring down at their screen than actually interacting with those and the world around them.

When I lie on my deathbed, I won’t look back at my life and marvel at all of the cool things I saw on the Instagram explore page or every text message I sent.

I’ll think about every moment I had where I truly felt alive and every experience that set my soul on fire. And you know what? I’m almost 100% positive that social media won’t be on that list.

This week, to take back control in my life, I am challenging myself to not allow any form of media to be the first thing I see when I wake up and the last thing I watch before I go to bed.

I think It’s time to wake up and not let our society be controlled by what isn’t even real. Our lives are our own to live, we cant keep giving the time we have to a digital abyss.

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