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STUDENT VOICE: InstaBan for Jan

The Verse’s Cheyenne Eugene tells us all about the idea of InstaBan for Jan. 

December is a month of pure, undisguised overindulgence. “It’s Christmas!” is our unanimous excuse for drinking, scoffing, chomping, munching and nibbling at everything that challenges our appetite. Then we flop onto the sofa in front of ‘Miranda: Christmas Special’, defeated.

However, it’s not just food that we guzzle. All of that free time avoiding as many family members as possible often leads to further gluttony… But of a different kind. By that I mean the hours spent sitting and scrolling through pages upon pages of Instagram which, by now, is just hundreds of pictures of various Christmas dinners and brand new Michael Kors bags that we reluctantly double tap.

Then along comes January, full of dieting, detoxing and already damned resolutions. A refreshingly new year! Talking of refreshing, how’s about not doing it to your Instagram feed.

According to RSPH, the usage of Instagram has the highest potential to lead to anxiety and lowered self-confidence of its users out of all mainstream social media sites. A New Year couldn’t be a more perfect time to break old social media habits which may be harmful, even if not obviously harmful. Therefore, I’m proposing (and have trial-run) a one month ban from Instagram over January – or “InstaBan for Jan”.

Sometimes it’s not as clear-cut as ‘Instagram is heightening my anxiety’ and I was pretty sceptical that I would be someone who needed an Instagram to cleanse. However, after some research, I realised that my social media habits suggest I’m a little ‘too deep’ into the app and you might be too.

Do you:

– Plan and wait for the optimum time to upload a photo in order to gain the most ‘likes’?

– Delete photos if you think they don’t get enough ‘likes’?

– Feel the need to get photo evidence of everything you do? (E.g. reading a book, drinking a smoothie)

– Have a Followers app?

– Scroll all the way down to the last photo you looked at when you reopen Instagram?

– Post hashtag spam on your photos?

– Regularly stalk certain people who are not celebrities?

– Purposely do/buy/say/eat/drink/wear certain things just to put it on Instagram to get a particular reaction?

– Do you get anxious about the amount of ‘likes’ a post will get?

– Do you often find yourself making comparisons between your life and the image someone else is giving of theirs?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above then you may find a break is well needed.

During my research, I found that the most common reason people loved Instagram was the platform it provided to some for self-expression. Don’t get me wrong, it’s really important for certain people to have this platform to exhibit their art, music, fashion, dead trim, everything or anything. However, this doesn’t mean that Instagram is everyone’s preferred path to self-expression.

Some of us may feel obliged to share our lives online to portray a, let’s face it, falsely overly positive image of ourselves. A lot of us know that this isn’t something which genuinely enhances our feeling of self-worth in the long run. So why do we do it? Many reasons but one of those is habit. Removing Instagram from your phone for one month will encourage you to loosen that habit and allow you to become more aware of yourself and surroundings. This is how I felt during my time away from Instagram anyway. I mean, it must’ve done something seeing as I’m sitting writing this.

My biggest concern wasn’t missing the app itself but more feeling as though I would be missing out on something. What, I’m not sure. Instead, I actually found myself much more relaxed during those times I would’ve been sat on my phone and missing out on nothing at all. If anything, it meant I had more motivation to contact and meet up with friends. The app remained deleted from my phone and I now only redownload it every few weeks when I felt like it.

Deleting Instagram could improve your confidence and motivation to spend your time in a more healthy and happy way. I promise you, it’s not the unruly mess you might be expecting.

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