Laci Womack, Staff Writer

We waste countless hours comparing our existence to internet strangers. The trees go unseen, and ironically, the outside world feels less real than someone’s life on the internet. 

We scroll through a montage of lives we know nothing about, making inferences based on the pictures and comments.

We often make judgments about people who only reveal a fragment of who they are to the public eye. We hold celebrities and idols to unrealistic standards, forgetting they are human, too. 

I could say that society is to blame for these misconceptions. My finger could also be pointed at the companies that design their platforms exclusively to attract users and keep our eyes glued to their sites longer.  

I, too, have found myself lost in this algorithm.

It appears social media knows me better than I do, and my interests no longer belong to me. They are merely fodder for advertisements managed by the booming corporations and standards of pop culture. 

Social media addiction is just as habituating as any other form of addiction, one of many pandemics living inside a global pandemic.  

When we receive a like, comment, or reaction on a post, dopamine is released in the brain. Subsequently, the reward system is stimulated to trigger the same kind of reaction as other drugs. According to Addiction Center.com, an estimated 27% of minors spend three or more hours a day on social media and show visible signs of poor mental health.   

The impulsive urge to get on social media, constantly checking to see if anything new has happened, if someone liked our post or not, is detrimental to our youth. It’s a very trivial thing to fixate our attention on, but to society, it is what deems us acceptable. 

However, by this logic, we’re led to believe that even the richest person’s life isn’t rough simply because their Instagram page only shows them smiling or purchasing the newest car fresh from the dealership.

As awful as it is, we  have the direct ability to change it. Try to detox from the inter-web. Avoid craving what lies on a screen and using it to determine your own self-worth and the worth of others. Admire the scenery around you.