“Five days disconnected? No way! It’s a lot of sacrifice ”, returned, without blinking, one of the teenagers challenged to stay 120 hours away from social networks. At 16 years old – and defined as “very shy” by her mother -, her Instagram feed is limited to photos of herself, 259 in total, posted as of November 2017 (the last image was published last week). “She doesn’t let go of her cell phone, she knew she wasn’t going to take it.”
In fact, no teenagers agreed – and the excuses were mixed. No judgement. Far from being an easy task to disconnect simultaneously from the Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Whatsapp. The rule was clear: no social network would be released. “Doesn’t SMS even count?” They asked. No, it’s not worth it.
“The youngest are the most vulnerable to dependence on social networks. And the probability is higher in females ”, says Hermano Tavares, psychiatrist, coordinator of the Integrated Ambulatory for Impulse Disorders, USP’s Psychiatry Institute, which has been treating patients since 2004 addicted to internet and new technologies.
Packaged by the release of the documentary The Network Dilemma, gives Netflix, which analyzes the impact of social networks on the lives of its users, student João Pedro de Freitas, 22, Estadão reporter Ana Lourenço, 24, and pedagogue Tathiane Cecília de Arruda, 46, face, from today (12), the experience of being outside the networks. The challenge extends until Friday (16). Will they succeed? Ben, a documentary character, failed on the third day when he was provoked by a somewhat perverse notification that popped up on his smartphone.
“I am very addicted and I am aware of that. So much so that I asked my mother to change my network passwords and not tell me the new code, otherwise I would certainly fall into temptation ”, says Ana, who usually spends six hours a day, or more, connected. “I use social networks to work, to inform myself and also during leisure hours. In the end, it’s easy to mask how much time I’m wasting there. ”
João Pedro, who for a month has been proposing to stay out of networks (except on Whatsapp) every Wednesday, will extend the habit for another four days, just turning off notifications. “I stopped to think how addictive these apps are. I can spend two, three hours browsing photos and videos without even realizing it, but I get tired when I try to spend this time studying or reading a book ”, he confesses. Hence the decision to do a detox once a week. “I think I’m going to do well offline. It will be difficult to be unable to send messages to my girlfriend. ” Ligia, in fact, “is not very happy with this story”.
“You’ve been around for a long time.” Tathiane admits that she has already taken that TikTok ear tug two or three times. “I was entertained with the videos and challenges that were appearing to me, until a new video with two teenagers came up, suggesting, in a fun way, that I disconnect a little”, she reports. According to her, the difficulty of leaving the cell phone is worse at dawn. “I end up going to sleep very late, around three or four in the morning, and the next day I feel exhausted.”
“The problem is in the loss of control, in the exaggeration. The diagnosis happens when the person realizes that social networks are causing him harm, but even so, he is still there, he cannot get out ”, says Tavares.
Pudera, social networks, the way they work, are potentially addictive. All actions performed within the networks – likes, shares, reading time – are measured and tracked for profile the user (your preferences, desires, reactions). Through algorithms, networks become more and more persuasive, showing the user exactly what they want to see – what appears in your feed does not necessarily appear in your best friend’s feed. The suggested sections – videos, pages, new connections – ditto: the selection is made according to the customer. The objective behind this modus operandi, which is widely criticized in the documentary, by the way, is increase engagement – making you stay connected more and more -, expand ad sales and when not, shape your behavior.
Next, check out how Ana, João Pedro and Tathiane’s experience without social networks is going on day after day.
The diary of the disconnected
While for João Pedro Freitas, 22, the first day away from social networks went smoothly, for Ana Lourenço, 24, and Tathiane Cecília de Arruda, 46, suffered a little from the anxiety of not knowing what is happening in the virtual world. Check out the video with the testimonials.