Daniel Gonzalez-Arevalo Senior Opinion: Limit your time spent on social media


Daniel Gonzalez-Arevalo, Newtonian Sports Manager

In my four years at Newton High School I have learned many lessons that have helped me improve myself as a person. I have learned how to effectively manage my time, who to surround myself with and how to take care of myself physically and most importantly, mentally. Social media is a popular way to interact with friends for many high school students and can increasingly become an important part of everyday life for many students for better or for worse. While I am able to acknowledge the positive impacts of social media such as staying connected with friends, getting involved in community activities and also finding new people who have similar interests, it is important to know when to step away and separate yourself from the variety of digital platforms. 

Instagram is by far one of the most popular social media platforms that I have seen used on a daily basis around the school. It offers so many different ways to interact with friends that include comments, video chats and direct messages. Many enjoy being able to interact with new friends without having to physically interact with them. 

A study at the University of Pennsylvania found that Instagram and other platforms can increase feelings of loneliness or isolation. However, I do believe sometimes it is okay to feel the nerves when presenting yourself to someone new. Being able to take that leap and feel that adrenaline when meeting someone new who you have never spoken to can remind you of how fun it is to make friends, which to me, is the most important part of school behind all of the learning. 

My most important piece of advice to social media users and students in general is to avoid comparing yourself to others. This is definitely easier said than done, especially with Instagram posts being made everyday and people constantly giving updates on their lives. According to the College of Journalism and Communications at the University of Florida, a study was conducted to determine the effects social media has on users. Results from 163 adult users of social media showed that comparing yourself to someone else simply led to a reduction of self-esteem which made people feel worse about themselves. 

I frequently listen to podcasts in the morning during class to wake me up and get me going. By far one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was from listening to The Mallory Bros. Podcast. There was a moment in a podcast episode where one of the brothers said to never compare your everyday life to the highlights of someone else. If you see an Instagram post or a Snapchat from someone who appears to be having the time of their life, do not take the time out of your day to compare or feel bad about yourself. 

There are 1440 minutes in a day, 7 days in a week and there are a little over 52 weeks in a year. Your story is still being written and it is only the beginning. Take pride in who you are and who you want to be. Take breaks from social media and focus on investing in yourself as much as possible. Make memories and moments that will last a lifetime instead of focusing on your social media growth. Know when to walk away from problems and take a break. Social media is a place to have fun and interact with others and if it starts becoming a problem, just remember that you can always leave the phone or computer and walk away.