My New Year resolution: Taking social media breaks

My six-year-old brother said something that still baffles me as we cleaned the car he splashed water on me and because I was watching Tik Tok videos I didn’t pay much attention. Then he did it again, increasing the amount at every interval until my jeans were dripping wet. Then I got furious and asked him why he had done it.

“You are always on your phone, I thought you wouldn’t notice,’’ he said.

Much as I wanted to punish him for it, I realised he had a good argument and was innocently addressing something no one else had got the guts to. Honestly, social media is more like a partner to me; I wake up, eat, sleep to it and laugh with it. My friends believe I am always busy to go out with them but truthfully, it’s the TikTok videos, snapchat drama and twitter stories that birdcage me.

I have lost friends, broke up with my lovely boyfriend because they believe I don’t give them time and my communication is poor yet I don’t feel remorseful for my adopted habits. I tell myself that I can do without them anyway. Possibly I can, but there are times the desire for human touch and small talk knocks, and I have no key.

For a moment I paused and evaluated my prayer life too. Even the little my mother taught me is gone. I no longer pray before meals, in the morning or at dusk; I watch videos until I fall asleep. My phone repair bill this year even shot up to a million because somehow I damage it since it is always in my hands, even when I go to bed. When my doctor prescribed spectacles, I thought to myself ‘it’s maybe a vitamin deficiency’ but I spend 8 hours taking in phone light and watching Netflix.

What really alarmed me was my malnutrition test. I rarely eat nor drink as long as the movie is good or there are engaging TikTok videos. I just won’t have any appetite. This is not some fiction story from Sheldon Cooper, my life is in ruins and doctors have recommended a social media use schedule.

The doctor printed the dangers and consequences on a sheet and asked me to tick the ones I’m already experiencing. Except peer pressure and loss of sleep, all the others were ticked.

Whereas social media addiction seems normal and innocent, it exposes many people to so much information which is mostly out of context for the character. The pressure to fit in and follow the trends leads many of us to share too much private information. Social media has also recently been linked to the rising divorce cases worldwide.

Remember that when you turn off your mobile phone, the reality is totally different and honest. Losing yourself to an imaginary life is not worth it after all. My New Year resolution is regulating my social media time and use while at the same time filtering the kind of content I consume. My major resolution is to get my life back and not let devices control me. I also need to build real relationships.

By Kirabo Peace, a journalist