‘Put your phone down’


Kayla Barry

This week, PV senior Kayla Barry discusses why she takes social media breaks. She also talks about the importance of these breaks on her mental health.

Editor’s Note: Kayla’s Korner will be a reoccurring column that deals with mental health and teenage issues.

My first real social media break was when I was in the hospital last year. I was not allowed to use my cellphone in the hospital for two days, and when I asked the nurses, they did not really tell me exactly why I couldn’t use my phone.

I had a feeling it was mostly due to the fact that I was there for wanting to commit suicide. Social media really impacts individuals, especially young individuals.

This break continued for my whole time at the inpatient facility since my phone was not even allowed in the facility. This continued in High Focus because you were not allowed to have a phone in the room with you. All electronic devices had to be put in a bucket and could not be taken out until the very end of the day.

At first, it was really hard to not have my phone within reach. I felt like I needed it. While in the hospital, I even had my mom text back everyone that was texting me, as well as text my bosses that I would not be in work.

Once I was in the inpatient facility, everything changed. I just felt free. I knew I didn’t have my phone and I honestly didn’t really care. During my free time there, I was writing and coloring. I used my time without technology to think and really work on myself rather than staring at a screen.

Of course, after I was without my phone for a week, I looked at it as soon as I came home. But that break while I was away really did something to me. It made me realize that there was more than just looking at what people post.

There was a whole world that I had been missing. I spent so much time looking at my phone rather than experiencing the world even more than I was.

After this, I took multiple social media breaks throughout the year. Some would only last a day and some would last two weeks. Each time I took a break, I felt refreshed.

For me, social media can consume my mind. Sometimes, all I can think about is going on social media, looking at others posts, etc. This is especially apparent when I post an Instagram picture. From the second I post the picture, I check every few seconds to see how many likes and comments I receive.

To me, that is mind-boggling. Why do I do that? That is not healthy.

I noticed this, and because of it, I turned off my post notifications. This helped a lot and made me not check my phone as often. I recommend you do this — the only notifications I get now are for my text messages.

To try to stay off my phone, I try to keep as busy as possible. I leave my phone in different rooms than where I am so I am not tempted to look at it.

Social media breaks are very important. I think everyone should take a few every year or even a few every month. They really help me. They allow me to take a step back and actually evaluate everything going on in my life.

So, put your phone down.

Coming next: Kayla’s Korner will be continuing with weekly articles. Next week, Kayla Barry will discuss her struggles with weight and body image.