With Hong Kong’s extraordinary internet speeds and strong connection, 95% of Hong Kongers are frequent smart phone users, which is one of the highest phone usage rates in the world. Social media, in particular, is a very important aspect of mobile usage. A survey conducted by a youth welfare group has found that more than 1 in 10 teenagers qualify as being addicted to the internet. Many youngsters are unable to control their smartphone addiction and spend over 6 hours a day browsing the internet. Technological addiction is an alarming issue as it could affect our mental health, relationship with others and well-being.
For study purposes and to conduct a social experiment, I’ve come up with a bizarre yet courageous idea: deleting my Instagram account, which lasted for around 4 years. I have to admit that this period of time had been tough. I found it hard to keep track on what people around me had been up to, especially when social media is our main source of communication. Some of my friends told me that I had been missing out a lot and seemed to be excluded from the social circle. Looking back, I actually quite enjoyed the whole experience and being known as “the caveman” for the past 4 years. I had much more freedom and didn’t have to stress about whether my pictures were 'instaworthy'. I could fully enjoy hanging out with my friends without having to worry about whether I’ve taken enough pictures to post on Instagram.
Using social media is undeniably one of the best ways to connect with people and expand our social circle. There is no definite line when it comes to technological addiction. After all, we are the ones to decide what works best for us. To make the most of our social media experience, we have to utilise it effectively and wisely: Set a time limit for yourself. Remove excessive applications. Turn off/customise notifications. These subtle steps can make such a huge difference. Whist being on social media can help us connect with people, we certainly have to appreciate the importance of spending quality time with our friends and to actually interact with people around us. So next time when you’re treating your friends to dinner, take the very one Instagram photo you need, put away your cellphone and enjoy your time!