Growing up in a media-saturated society was something I didn't understand the impact of until I arrived to college. Three years later, my coursework outlines the expanding nature of technology, connectivity and how this comes into play with human sociology. Needless to say, it's overwhelming.
Social media has been an outlet for me, an inspiration and a nuisance. My relationship with my phone has become something I have to consciously think about. Consuming pointless posts and a rising amount of screen time have honestly hurt my mind.
With the switch to almost 100% online, my life and career now feel reliant on something I consider a burden to my mental health.
For 20 years, I have walked with my head hanging, knowing that nobody can see the scars on my body and that a huge part of who I am was missing from my profile.
We compare our profiles as if they in fact are us. We judge each others' profiles because on some days, they mean everything for our survival.
In order for me to survive, I have learned when to put my phone down.
I have matured in a sense that face-to-face interaction and affirmation is how I survive. Making conscious efforts to socialize outside of the social network is something I prioritize. In doing so, I have gained a willingness to trust, I have grown up happier and I have begun to love myself.
These efforts are not easy, and often times I find myself scrolling without a second thought in order to fill a void. But, then I assure myself there is a way to be myself without having to create it online.
Putting my phone down is not something I can choose to do every day. However, I can choose to not let my insecurities bully me and to believe there is more to me than what people interpret from online.
You are you, and that is your power.
— Natalie Hunt, arts & culture editor