Closing the door to socials opens windows


Leah Newhouse

Leah Newhouse, Managing Editor

For the past 11 years, my family has practiced the tradition of lent by giving up something that affects our daily lives for the 40 days before Easter.

This year, I decided to give up something that impacts each one of our lives every day — social media. Because of how much time I spend on Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat, I knew that deleting each one of these media formats would open up hours of my day.

Teenagers spend an average of 9 hours a day on social media, according to, which is more than how many hours of sleep I get every night. I know that I don’t spend that much time on social media, but I do spend enough time on it that it frequently distracts me from doing everyday tasks, especially school related activities.

I originally thought that removing social media from my life would not be that difficult since I’m usually not constantly checking my feeds. I quickly learned that I was completely wrong. The first day that I did not have Instagram on my phone, I went straight to the empty spot where the app once was and clicked on it, expecting a feed full of pictures, but instead nothing happened. This was when I realized how large of an impact social media has had on my life and the lives around me.

Before I deleted any type of social networking from my phone, I would occasionally sit in class while the teacher was teaching and instead of paying attention to the lesson, I would see the latest stories on my Snapchat. Since I no longer have this as a crutch to lean on during school, I am more alert during class. I have noticed myself remembering the material that is being taught more clearly because I now have less distractions in from of me.

To fill the hours of void that used to be filled with social media, I have been challenging my puzzle skills. I now do a crossword puzzle instead of scrolling through Facebook, and I solve sudoku puzzles instead of Tweeting. My high score on how fast I can complete a sudoku puzzle is now 2 minutes and 31 seconds because of how many times I have played it. In the past two weeks I have become more competitive because of a number game than how I was when I played soccer for 10 years. Not only are these puzzles fun and entertaining, but they are healthy for my mind. According to, puzzles such as sudoku and crosswords can benefit memory and outset brain diseases that are

The downside to my 40 day ban of social media is that I feel less connected with those around me. I am used to figuring out what all of my friends and family are doing just by the touch of my fingertips. Now, I have to ask that person or another person what is happening or someone else keeps me updated on another person’s life. I know this sounds like a serious case of first world problems, and it is. But, it’s also true.

For about the past 6 years, I have been consumed by a world of technology in which I have not had to use any sort of direct communication with another person to know what is happening in their life. Without having this source of information anymore, I have had to completely adjust, and it has been difficult for me. I get asked multiple times a day if I saw someone’s post on Facebook, picture on Instagram, story of Snapchat or Tweet. Most of the time, I would have already been ahead of the game. But now, I’m in the dark about what is happening around me. I even had to be told about the “what in tarnation” memes when every other person knew what it was.

I’ve realized in the past couple of weeks, though, that escaping from everyone else’s lives isn’t a bad thing at all. Since I am not on social media, I have more time to focus on my own life. I take time out of my day to read a book or work on my homework rather than be on my phone. And when I am doing these things, I am less distracted than usual because I don’t have to temptation to scroll through my feed.

When Easter comes along and I redownload different platforms of media to my phone again, I hope that I will not become as dependent on social networking as I once was.