For six hours on Monday, teen and young adult depression rates plummeted.
Relief swept the nation. People looked up from their phones. They smiled at each other and actually scheduled lunch dates instead of just saying, “We should get a meal sometime!”
Then the Facebook server came back up — and with it, the momentary bliss came crashing back down.
Do us all a favor, Instagram: Shut right back down. Now that we’ve had a taste of life outside of a screen, why go back?
While some experienced euphoria at the freedom from immediate access to comparison, campus also experienced major withdrawal symptoms. When I checked for the sixth time that day to see if Instagram was running, I was so beyond relieved to see that someone I barely knew was able to catch golden hour lighting that I ran into a column and hit my head. My feed looks blurry now, but at least I can still scroll.
During those six hours, I couldn’t wait to get back on the ’Gram. But as soon as it was back up, I missed those six hours I spent living life in person instead of mindlessly scrolling through Instagram — missed them so much that I deactivated my Instagram that night.
Granted, during Monday’s harrowing hours, many students didn’t experience the bliss I felt.
Without social media, individuals actually had the time to get bored.
Students didn’t know what to do with the lack of entertainment in random 30-second to three-minute intervals of the day. Some even had to talk to the people in front of them in line for Passport. Some didn’t have any prayer inspiration without their daily dose of Jesus from their favorite Christian influencer.
When we reach for our phones, we’re looking to numb ourselves to the reality around us. If we’re paying attention to the media we don’t pay attention to what’s actually in front of us. It might be homework, a phone call to mom you’ve been avoiding, or actually being silent enough to hear the voice of God. But to be present in life, with all of its awkwardness, empty moments in time, and unavoidability, will always be more magnificent than what social media, even at its best, can ever give you.
If only we weren’t so attached to an app that is built to be as addictive as possible. If only we didn’t let social media consume us as we consume it, and if only Instagram had shut down for good.