• Emerging Media

My Relationship to My Phone During Social Distancing

By Jane Miller '20


A few months ago, I wrote an article for the Vivette Times about my journey giving up social media for a month. If you haven't read it, I suggest reading it here. https://www.vivettetimes.org/post/one-month-without-social-media


I found that I was less anxious, more social and better focused when I didn't spend as much time on my phone or glued into social media. With that being said, I never could have predicted that a few short months later, there would be a giant pandemic leaving us all bored at home. Personally, I know I have resorted to social media to occupy my abundance of free time. Scrolling through Instagram or sending a quick Snapchat is something to occupy a few minutes when it feels like we have nothing but time on our hands.


Social media, along with things like Zoom, Facetime and other communication outlets, have proved to be wonderful tools during this scary time. They make it possible for people to connect with friends and family who they aren't able to see, which can make people feel less alone.

However, in an already anxiety inducing time like this, too much social media can greatly contribute to a person's stress levels. I recently saw someone post that they had been spending on average, 11 hours a day on their phone. It is understandable to resort to apps like TikTok and Instagram to fill the time.. But it is also important to realize the negative impact of so much screen time. Quarantine doesn't allow people to balance our social media time with real, face to face interactions, which can lead to feeling isolated and lonely.


Social media can be a great tool during this time. It makes it easier to convey information, connect with friends and keep up to date with news. The key is to find balance. Setting time limits on your apps can be a big help, along with turning your phone off at a certain time every night. Schedule Facetime calls with friends rather than just scrolling through hours of TikToks. Go for a walk. Read a book! Take up a new hobby.


Personally, I'm just trying to be patient with myself. If I decide I want to check out Instagram or log into Snapchat for a little bit because I'm bored, I do it. But at the same time, I pay close attention to my screen time limits. When I've gone over an hour or two in a day, that's when I try to cut it back. It's all about balance!