What it Means to be Chronically Online


New Directions Psychology

Most people go hours scrolling on their phone before they even realize the time wasted that could have been used towards something more productive and healthy towards their life.

Katelyn Ruggles, Editor-in-Chief

There is no doubt that our generation has been influenced by technology. People spend half their day aimlessly scrolling through social media, making hours seem like minutes. Not everything about social media is bad. It allows information to spread efficiently, communication to be quicker and easier, and people to express their creative selves. But there is a point where being on social media too much quite literally takes over someone’s brain. 

Ironically, the phrase “chronically online” is spreading through social media. For those who may not know, to be “chronically online” means that you have almost lost touch with reality. Your everyday lingo turns into a Tik Tok comment section, you can not form an opinion or thought without seeing it trending on the internet, and you are unaware of the real issues happening in the world. 

Though not everyone falls into this way of living, there are people in the world who are spending too much time on the life they live through their screen and not enough time in the real world around them. 

This is problematic for multiple reasons. For starters, it causes people to lose who they truly are as a person, as now their personality is confined to what they consume on social media. It also eliminates people’s abilities to form their own opinions on issues that probably do not have enough reliable resources to gauge through social media. Social media use for leisure time is not a bad thing. Everyone loves a funny viral video. But when it starts to cloud up your brain and way of living, the concerns start to show. 

Taking a break from social media can help people grasp back onto reality. Whether this be limiting the screen time you can have on a certain app, to deleting social media in general, a cleanse can be beneficial for many reasons. You will most likely end up using your “scrolling time” towards something much more productive. Maybe instead of that hour on Instagram, you caught up on some school work or went on a food run with a friend. The fear of being disconnected from those around you when stepping away from social media is valid, but it will likely result in spending more face to face time with friends. Trust me, after two weeks without social media, you will forgot and end up not caring about what people are posting.

Anita Tun (12), a student who took a social media cleanse, states that “Two years ago I decided to delete Tik Tok which was likely my most used app because I hated the feeling of scrolling for sometimes two hours a day. Although I was initially scared of missing out, I have no regret of deleting the app and wished I could have done it sooner. It’s a detox I recommend to a lot of my friends.” 

Although I was initially scared of missing out, I have no regret of deleting the app and wished I could have done it sooner. It’s a detox I recommend to a lot of my friends.”

— Anita Tun (12)

Most people have probably also been found guilty of scrolling through their favorite app to the point where you almost feel regretful of the time passed. It is easy to forget how quickly time passes when aimlessly scrolling, but the damage that it can do to your brain can be long lasting. 

It is important to set aside time in your day to focus on yourself and do things that make you feel productive and accomplished. It allows you to keep your brain active and healthy while staying connected to your life and the world around you. Maybe a social media cleanse is just the thing needed to rebuild the healthy relationship necessary between spending time on social media and focusing on life and relationships in the real world.