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Digital detox: is it the beginning of an end for social media? Probably not.

Unplugging completely from social media could be difficult and as bad as spending hours on these platforms.

Digital detox
Detox could be defined as a process or period of cleansing the body of toxic substances to promote a healthier life.


After years of catering to the whims and fancies of various social media platforms, users are now doing a turnabout. That’s an inclination towards the so-called “detox culture.” Is it the beginning of an end to this era for these tech giants? Too dramatic, but the answer is probably no.


From checking phones first thing in the morning to receiving the latest notifications throughout the day to ending the day with scrolling through various reels, Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, TikTok, and several other social media platforms have become a part and parcel of our lives. The rush is in-line with that of the addiction to any substance or gambling. But one major difference is that while alcohol abuse, drugs, and gambling are still socially unacceptable, social media has somehow managed to easily slide into our lives.


Last year, Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen spoke to members of parliament in London about the Online Safety Bill committee. Here, she said that the American multinational tech giant’s safety teams were under-resourced as Facebook “has been unwilling to accept even little slivers of profit being sacrificed for safety”. Haugen further warned that Instagram is even more dangerous as it promotes social comparison, relating to bodies, and people’s lifestyles, and that’s what ends up being worse for kids. Facebook’s own research described one problem as “an addict’s narrative”, she added.


The tech giants, on the other hand, are not oblivious to the negativity caused on their platforms, which is further promoting the detox culture. They are addressing the concern and over time coming up with updates as an attempt to reduce pessimism on the platform and to improve users’ experience. From taking steps against online bullying to reporting toxic and inappropriate content, tech majors seem to do little to promote healthy social media culture.


But are these all enough? Probably not. But is it a step towards providing some sort of controlled and meaningful content to the users? Certainly yes. Lastly, is the detox culture a threat to the tech giants? Definitely not. Why?


Because in spite of all the hype around detox culture, what most people do is either deactivate their accounts or remove social media apps or do both. But they do not entirely delete their accounts as they don’t intend to remove social media completely from their lives. Well, does this mean “we were on a break?” (Argh, too much? Please bear with a F.R.I.E.N.D.S fan.)


Well, detox could be defined as a process or period of cleansing the body of toxic substances to promote a healthier life. Hence, the essence of social media detox is to take some time off, maybe a weekend or so, from the digital platforms which incite several emotions like anxiety, jealousy, fulfillment, and even depression among many others. Removing yourself from the social media environment to improve your mental health could aid in opening many other alternatives to connecting with the real world which then is followed by a controlled return.


These alternatives could be old-school yet evergreen ones like spending time with family, getting more time for self-care, and even doing productive activities like pursuing a new online course, joining that yoga class, or just a walk with your dog. But again, we cannot go back to the stone age.


Everything comes with its ups and downs. Every single day, we are inching toward a new age, where robots are performing surgeries and space travel is a reality, and technology is becoming an indispensable part of our lives. Hence, unplugging completely from social media could be difficult and as bad as spending hours on these platforms. And as the saying goes: balance in life is the key to everything, the need of the hour is to achieve a balance between the real and digital world to stay afloat.

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