As social media becomes their daily routine, BYUH students say it makes it harder to create authentic moments with loved ones


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When Madison Richter, a peacebuilding junior from Ohio, took a three-month hiatus from social media, she said it gave her the chance to get into film photography with a camera. film photo that his grandfather had given him. She said it helped her realize that social media creates a distance between the real world and what social media captures and displays for everyone to see.

“I feel like taking pictures is supposed to capture the moment. But with a smartphone, [people] take a bunch of photos and try to create that perfect moment that isn’t that moment. This is [their] projections of how this moment is meant to be remembered,” Richter explained.

She said using a film camera taught her how to learn to enjoy the moment. “With film photography, if you see something that catches your eye and you choose to photograph it, that’s your only shot. This is how this moment will be remembered. »

BYU-Hawaii students said that while social media can be very distracting, it can also be used to find peace in connection, especially when away from loved ones.

Social networks create links

Mele Tu’iono said that at the age of 21, it was difficult to be away from his family because his birthday was a big event that should have been celebrated with his loved ones. She said social media helped her feel connected to her family even though she was far away. “I celebrated online, and it helps me feel there is no distance between us.”

Christal Lee, a senior from the Philippines majoring in visual arts, was 5,000 miles away from her fiancé, Lou-J Jover from the Philippines, while studying at BYUH. She said social media has helped them stay connected.

“We are healed when we study the scriptures together,” she explained, adding how they find peace and strengthen each other through social media as it allows them to continue doing things together as a couple.

Tu’iono said she can still do the things she does with her family back home on social media. When she goes through difficult times, she says she finds peace through social media as it allows her to reach out to her parents to receive motivation and support from them.

Richter said she found the most peace staying up to date with distant friends, sharing her life with them and connecting with others on social media. She added that one of the most effective ways to connect through social media is through Instagram stories, which are more interactive than individual posts.

She said she once posted a question on her Instagram story asking, “What are the little things that make you fall in love with life a little more?” Richter said that not only did seeing the responses help her find peace amid the distance she felt from her friends and family, but as she posted the responses, the light s spread to everyone she knew.

Richter explained that some of the responses included “used bookstores, video games, the beauty of the planet, the melting snow, being barefoot in the grass, the sun, being able to brighten someone’s day and when someone takes the time to listen to them.”

She continued, “Other friends reached out to me after I posted these replies and said it brightened their day as well, which was really nice.”

Social media has also helped Richter become more aware of other people’s experiences, she explained. “I feel like social media has helped me to be more aware of life and to be more connected to the different experiences people have in life,” Richter explained.

A boy and a girl stand on a sidewalk.  They both look at the phones in their hands and wear all black.

Avoiding social media promotes connection with others.

Photo by Shawn Fields on Unsplash

Social networks create distance

Tu’iono said that although social media helps her connect with her family, she has seen negative aspects of it affect her life. She said that when she spends too much time on social media, her grades drop and she sees her focus shift from prayer and scripture study to social media viewing as soon as she wakes up.

She explained that social media “became part of [people and their] daily routine.” She said this routine can prevent people from bonding.

Lee said social media creates distance between her and Jover because they take to social media when angry with each other because they don’t want to confront the issue right away. . She explained that when they’re apart, it’s easier to use social media as a distraction.

This distraction can be very detrimental as it diverts the attention of loved ones. Richter said it also translates to lost opportunities and experiences that could have enriched someone’s life.

Turn distance into connections

Lee said she and Jover discovered how social media affected an in-person, long-distance relationship. Through this experience, Lee said he learned to use social media to create connection between them instead of distance. She said they neutralize the distraction of social media by scheduling times or activities when they’re not on their phone.

For Jover, the family connection is essential to him, so he said they put their phones down for dinner or family nights so they can interact with each other. “Yes [people] have good communication with each member of [their] family is good. He said he uses dinner time to reconnect with his family and relax.

Lee said, “For Filipinos, mealtimes are very important. … We have to hang up our phones … [and] have a conversation with the family. This is where we find the time to really reconnect.

Tu’iono said she was social media wise by participating in social media fasts. She said people should remember that they know themselves better than anyone, so when they feel they need more time for themselves, they should take a break from social media.

She said her two weeks on social media had affected her life in a positive way. “It helped me remember that there are other things more important than social media.”

Richter said that although she notices the harmful effects of social media on addiction, she has found that social media improves her life when she uses it to become more aware and learn more about others instead of just them. use to pass the time.

Over the past summer, Richter said she quit social media for three months, and while quitting it completely isn’t for everyone, it has helped her. She said she’s had time to experience more things she wanted to do before, like reading books, practicing instruments, taking road trips, and discovering new hikes and adventures.

“I couldn’t have done this if I was stuck in this usual social media scrolling cycle,” she explained.

It was during this social media quick that Richter said she started film photography with the camera her grandfather gave her. She said, “I felt like film photography…helped me stay grounded and present and enjoying everything I was going through at that time.”

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