Teenagers and young adults switching off from Facebook and other social apps reveal how the change has affected their lives
Our love of social media seems to have grown and grown in the past decade, but recent studies show the tide may be turning for some platforms, with young people in particular ditching Facebook. One study claims that more than 11 million teenagers left Facebook between 2011 and 2014. It’s been argued that they are swapping public platforms such as Twitter and Instagram for more private messaging apps like WhatsApp and Snapchat.
When asked the Guardian’s younger readers whether they have quit social media and why, as well as what apps they are ditching. Almost all reported a greater sense of happiness after going offline. Here, we share some of their experiences.
Rosanna Cassidy, 25, Nottingham: ‘I can live my life instead of trying to shape it into one that looks good online’
I’d been thinking about quitting Facebook for a long time, but the EU referendumfinally made me bite the bullet. I was sick and tired of people trying to force their political beliefs upon me, and I found it so depressing that people were repeating views they had heard that weren’t true.
Now, three months later, without Facebook I feel much happier and more content. I can live my life instead of trying to shape it into one that looks good online. I also have a lot more time now, and it’s easy enough to keep in touch with my friends in other ways. What’s more, now we can have conversations about what we’ve been doing because we haven’t seen it all already on social media.
I don’t plan on going back to Facebook, but I still have my Instagram account, which I check once a day. Instagram is different because it’s not as time-consuming, and you don’t get bombarded with other people’s views. Plus, the Instagram community is more supportive. I gave up Twitter years ago because it didn’t really feel like it had a point, and it was just a space for opinionated people to air their views in a non-constructive way.
Sophie, 18, Surrey: ‘I used to check for updates countless times a day. Now, I’m free’
I’ve never really used Instagram and Tumblr because I don’t see the point of them. I had Twitter for news updates when I was in school and sixth form, but stopped using it when my exams started. As for Facebook, I only ever used it to contact my friends, but Skype chats and other apps mean I don’t need it any more.
I’ve been free from the chains of social media for about six months now, which doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it feels like it now that my time isn’t being sapped by these apps. It sounds so silly, but since leaving I feel like my own person. Before, Facebook and Twitter became almost like extra arms attached to me that I constantly had to be aware of. I used to check for updates countless times every day. Now, I don’t have to be reliant and dependent on it any more – it’s like a breath of fresh air. I don’t plan on going back, except for maybe WhatsApp if I need to talk to people when I’m abroad.