A group of teenagers in Brooklyn, New York made headlines recently for starting something called the “Luddite Club.” They meet and hang out once a week, ditching their phones for reading, creative pastimes and conversation. Some members have opted for flip phones or gotten rid of their phones altogether. Avoiding social media is also one of their goals. As they mention in the article, these platforms are the opposite of “real life,” and making true connections is more important than ever.
It’s likely that these inspiring Luddite teens aren’t alone. Now that some young people are pushing back against social media, others may follow in their footsteps. It seems like a sign of hope for a generation struggling with severe mental health struggles.
Why are Young People Pushing Back Against Social Media?
According to a 2019 survey, most kids today acquire their first phone by the time they’re 11-12 years old. Millennials and Gen Zers have grown up with this technology and witnessed its negative effects. They’ve watched their parents become consumed by it. They’ve watched their friends become obsessed with developing an online identity that garners likes. They’ve recognized how addictive and damaging it is. As a result, they’ve experienced worsening mental health and crippling loneliness.
Kids are coming to realize that in spending more time on their phones, they’re sacrificing the joys of real life. Among those joys are human connection, support, and love, as well as involvement in fulfilling activities. By pushing back against social media, Luddite teens report feeling more focused, alert and engaged with everyday life.
Why Teens are Forced to Lead the Way
You might be asking yourself why teens are being forced to take the first steps against social media. In a world where technology has become a necessity, teens haven’t had much of a say in the matter. Big tech companies have made these platforms as addictive as possible to ensure that users keep consuming content. Social media has become a part of youth culture, too, and some kids fear “missing out” by going dark.
As unfortunate as it is, we often have to be our own advocate. Technology isn’t going to disappear overnight. Pushing back against social media however, allow teens to experience real fulfillment. The happier the kids feel away from their screens, the more likely it is that they will enact widespread change. Then, maybe the adults will listen and learn from their experience as well.
How to Join the Movement and Limit Your Screentime
We’re told that we need social media to connect and engage. We also need our phones to keep up with e-mails, get directions, stream music and request Uber rides. Some of us may need phones because our employers require it. In this situation, it can feel impossible to eliminate social media and limit screen time.
Here are 3 ways you can get started:
- Wean yourself off a little bit at a time. If going cold turkey works best for you, go for it! For most of us, though, smaller steps ensure better results. Start by eliminating screen time 1-2 hours before bed. If you rely on your phone to wake up in the morning, invest in an alarm clock to avoid using your phone early in the day.
- Start by deleting 1 social media app. Maybe your job requires you to have access to Facebook. If that’s the case, start by deleting Instagram. If you rely on Instagram to connect with distant relatives, start by deleting TikTok or Facebook. Whatever you do, try not to return to the app. Pushing back against social media requires some commitment. The first few weeks may be difficult, but eventually you’ll replace the habit with something else.
- Schedule activities outside of screen time. You should look forward to the things you do in your free time. That way, time spent on your phone will seem boring in comparison. Make a list of things you love and schedule some time for those things. And leave your phone at the door!
Our Staff at Lead4Life, Inc. Can Help
At Lead4Life, we strive to empower every participant in our programs so that they may find their purpose, achieve their goals, and become poised, productive members of their community. We advocate for those in need and assist each and every individual by providing compassionate education and valuable resources like mental health tips so that they can make the very best decisions and develop important life, social, and competency skills. Visit our website or contact us at 240-499-8949 to learn more about pushing back against social media.