By Katrina Liu
I have a problem and I’ve known it for awhile now. I have spent an obscene amount of time on Instagram ever since I downloaded the app in sixth grade. Like many other people of my generation, it’s our main form of social media. I never missed a post.
While social media is beneficial in many ways, like keeping up with old friends, it can also be harmful. We all post the best times of our lives on social media, rarely the worst. I realized that, lately, Instagram has been annoying me more than bringing me joy. I wanted to change that.
With the iPhone, you can set time limits from apps. I set a half hour time limit on Instagram during the weekdays and an hour for the weekends. I tried to do this about two years ago, but ended up giving up after two days. I was going to hold myself accountable this time around.
Day 1: I tried to stay off of the app as much as possible, but it was only 1 p.m. and I had already gotten the five minute warning. I ended up hitting the “Remind Me in 15 Minutes” button around four times throughout the day. Not the best start, but I was glad that I was now more aware of how much time I spend scrolling through my newsfeed. The answer: a lot more than I should be.
Days 2 and 3: I found that my thumbs still instinctively clicked on the Instagram app and then I would stop myself and had to exit. It was interesting that even without consciously thinking about it, my muscles would go click on the app. These two days, I only pressed the “Remind” button twice. Progress.
Days 4 and 5: It was the weekend, and I purposefully gave myself more time at the start with the app, but to my surprise, I never received the five minute warning. I’m not sure if it was because I had more time, but I was still happy, nonetheless.
Days 6 and 7: I only reached the time limit on Day 7 because I tend to scroll through Instagram before I sleep and I don’t go to sleep until after midnight. But instead of ignoring the time limit, I got off the app and didn’t have the urge to go back on it all day. My thumb doesn’t instinctively click on the app anymore, which is somewhat of a relief.
Overall, I’m really glad I did this and I will keep the time limits going. The time that I used to mindlessly browse on Instagram with is now replaced with time doing other things, like writing in my journal. It’s too soon to tell if this has any effect on me mentally, but it is sure nice to not always be refreshing my newsfeed and seeing things I don’t really care about.