03 February 2022
Sometimes we believe a distraction is what we need; to escape from life for a while. We believe our simple exit is right in our pockets. We scroll and scroll, mindlessly moving our thumbs across the screen, feeling a little brain-dead by the time we force ourselves out of that trance. We may find that our thumbs naturally gravitate to the app when we switch on our phones; a millennium will flutter by before we glance up again.
The desire to scroll
Mindless scrolling not only wastes time, but also increases our dependency on dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which is released in our brain whenever we feel aroused, motivated, or simply happy. When dopamine levels decrease, we have a natural craving for it. Notifications and absorbing content make us feel wanted, and excited. This naturally triggers our desire to continue to scroll on our phones.
Scrolling on our mobile devices is becoming common and widely agreed to be habitual. One study showed that over 60% of people feel anxious without their phones. Habitual glances at social media cause many of us to feel temporarily connected. Our temporary connection lacks fundamentally strong human relationships, leading to feelings of insignificance, exposure and eventually loneliness. Habitual glances at social media dismisses feelings of isolation.
Sharing only our best times
We share with others our memorable moments, information we find important, or just ourselves during our greatest times. This continues until all we see is false positivity and our true life isn’t even recognisable.
Our time wafts away from us; being consumed by big businesses. Our interests and opinions are saved. Advertisements are specifically tailored to us, making us more likely to click and purchase.
Distracting ourselves from life, hinders our resilience. We need to put down our phones and interact with the people around us. Humans are social beings, not social media beings. Screen time is eating away our time. We need to minimise this consumption and be present in our lives. Instead of mindlessly scrolling when we feel anxious or bored, we need to build resilience to these feelings and be more in control of ourselves.
That’s why it’s time to talk and make connections with each other.
– Maria, Young Ambassador at London Youth
This blog is part of our Coming of Age in the Capital series. Young people face huge challenges as a result of the pandemic, but too often their voices go largely unheard in the mainstream. As part of this programme, we’re giving young Londoners a chance to share their perspectives, ideas and lived experience and campaign on the issues affecting their lives.