Students should spend more time offline to prioritize productivity

Isaac Hsu

Moody Homsi

Given the never-ending rise of social media outlets that give more access to different facets of the internet, you have likely spent hours scrolling through TikTok or Instagram. I can definitely admit to times I was online for longer than I should. I have scrolled through social media and played games online when I should have been studying for tests or doing homework.

According to Common Sense Media, teens in the United States spend an average of eight hours on their phones each day, and that number doesn’t include additional time spent on schoolwork. The constant stream of information, whether useful or not, keeps people attached to their phones. Furthermore, people who use TikTok and YouTube spend a few hours a day combined in the apps on average. Similar apps like Reddit can provide entertainment in 15 seconds or less, keeping people from losing interest so they stay scrolling on the app. 

Without these apps, teens could be more productive. I’ve seen a lot of people in class who are always on their phones, not paying attention to the teacher. That’s a growing problem. The National Library of Medicine has said that within the past 15 years, attention spans have shrunk to only eight seconds. This is likely true, because when I was writing this, I clicked off many times to go watch YouTube videos and scroll through Discord. Writing this should have taken me an hour, but the distractions have lengthened it to over three hours of on and off writing.

We–and this includes me–should use social media in moderation. Instagram imposes unreachable standards for many of today’s youth while TikTok exacerbates dangerous trends.

Learning to spend more time offline is something simple that many teens struggle with. Some ways are to schedule designated off times or turn off social media notifications. I’d suggest joining a club or sport at school. It’s a great way to stay connected while being active. It’s up to social media users to browse online with intelligence. If you’ve spent countless hours scrolling or waiting for a reply, remember that there’s something more productive to do instead. It comes down to every individual to maintain a healthy balance with social media, one where we stay connected in ways that don’t involve constant posting and scrolling, so social media stops being a necessity.