Connection Not Found

Students Share Their Experience of Not Having Social Media

Lauren Curtis and Maxie Eller

The lunch tables are filled with students laughing and sharing stories of their weekend. All of a sudden, phones simultaneously start lighting up; all except for one. Students instinctively reach for their devices, frantically scrolling through messages and images. The lone student watches with an amused expression as her friends are sucked into a world of comments, likes, and followers. She sits silently, waiting for the right moment to grab her friends’ attention again. For now, though, they might as well be on another planet, lightyears away from reality. 


Social media platforms, such as Snapchat and Instagram, are owned by 79 percent of people. However, what about the percentage that doesn’t own a social media account? The most asked question is: why? Why don’t they have social media? What do they do since they aren’t on their phones, checking posts and messages every two seconds? 


“[I feel] free and can do whatever I want,” Hailey Hunger (12) said. “I’m not stuck looking at my phone all day and I’m not chained to my phone.”


In Hunger’s spare time, she is continuously challenging herself to become better at tennis, studying, and watching Netflix. Her parents do not allow her to have social media for fear of the dangers of the cyber web, but she also just is not interested. For Hunger, her social life is not confined to a screen. 


“I have more time for my studies and I feel more involved because I’m not on my phone as much,” Abby Charnoski (12) said.


Charnoski is a former social media user. She stopped using social media once it started to negatively affect her life. Since then, she has more time to pursue more important things to her such as church activities and dance. Her interaction with others is now more personal and direct.


“I don’t really feel that I’m left out. I just talk to people that I want to talk to and I’m into things that I want to be into,” Connor Brumley (10) said. 


After deleting social media out of boredom, life has still continued for Brumley. Although Brumley still uses social media every now and then, it is not an overwhelming presence in his life. In fact, his friendships have benefited from more face-to-face interaction.


“I just like putting myself out there a lot and it [social media] wastes time and kept me from doing important things,” Charnoski said. 


Many people believe the purpose of social media has been to connect people without them having to interact in person. However, it has also led to people, especially teenagers, to have more anxiety about social contact in person. For Charnoski and other non-users of social media, the ability to interact with their peers has been cultivated because they do not use an intermediary.