Choosing to delay my phone and social media use for the better


Mei Corricello

Writer Elliu Huang shares why he chose to not use social media and a smartphone.

Elliu Huang, Managing Editor

At the beginning of class, I always see a room full of faces, dully lit up by blue screens. Saying hello to my friends proves to be a challenge because their monotonous ritual of smirking at a post, double-tapping the screen and scrolling down seems too fragile to disturb. During Kahoots, I have to partner with other students, who always question why I need to. For group projects, my group always asks why they can’t find my social media, which they need in order to communicate with me. My answer, “I don’t have one,” is always inadequate, promptly leading to yet another question, “Why don’t you have one?”

The truth? I wasn’t ready. I have seen so many people unable to resist the gravity of social media, eventually becoming sucked into the smartphone black hole and unable to leave it.

My true response sticks to my throat, and I falter.

Saying the words out loud seems strange, and would most likely warrant further questioning and draw strange looks from those asking.

So, I awkwardly reply, “I don’t know.” My honest answer produces snickers from the group, which makes me uneasy.

Throughout middle school, I didn’t feel that I needed a phone or any form of social media; students were prohibited from using phones during school hours, and I didn’t have much time for them to begin with. Whenever I had to call my parents, I used my friend’s phone. I only made a Google account because it had numerous, handy features such as Drive and Gmail. Despite my friends efforts to convert me to the modern ways, I remained loyal to a simple life.

As I transitioned into high school, I found it harder and harder to resist the temptation to make a Facebook account. The varsity tennis team nearly succeeded in persuading me because they posted important information about games and snack schedules on the Messenger chat. It took all my willpower to decline their chronic nudges toward social media. However, after looking at the nonsense in the chat, my temptation to make a Facebook account dissolved as I realized that I wasn’t missing anything important.

I noticed that with the freedom to use their phones anytime, a myriad of students and most of my friends have developed an unhealthy addiction to their phones. In every class, I always see people surreptitiously checking their phones when they’re not supposed to. Every second of their spare time is used for social media or phones. Phones are becoming a source of distraction during class.

In addition to the distraction phones cause, I always feel isolated in the classroom when everyone else has their phone out, checking their social media. Waiting for the bell to ring before class, I am always awkwardly staring at the ground, not knowing what else to do, because the sight of their phones discourages small but meaningful talk. Even a simple “hello” is ignored, and the time saved is used for social media. A sense of remoteness envelops me as I uncomfortably sit in my seat.

During brunch or lunch, I would always find myself feeling alone because everyone around me has their phone out. I felt that I was becoming distant with my friends because I didn’t have a phone or social media; I found myself spending most of brunch walking to and from the cafeteria to get a snack because my friends were too engrossed in their phones and social media to notice my existence.

Realizing how phones and social media had harmed me, I made this choice long ago not to be different from everyone, but to restrain myself from becoming what I see everywhere:

students with necks bent downwards and fingers flying across the three-inch keyboard. Sometimes, they walk past friends without even noticing, creating an awkward situation unless their friends are doing the same thing.

I didn’t want to give people the impression that I had more important things on social media or on the phone than taking the time to say hello to them. If I had gotten a smartphone and signed up for social media, how many friends would I have disregarded? How many friendships would weaken because of my lack of acknowledgement?

In the end, I will learn to cope with social media and phone usage. I have seen phones and social media be used in an effective manner that isn’t detrimental to every day connections. Social media has unlimited potential, ranging from increased communication to a source of revenue. Phones, used in an effective way, increase the rate of communication and make communication and every day tasks more convenient.

But as of now, I still don’t feel ready, and I will continue to lead a social media and smartphone-free life.