Unlocking her phone with a quick swipe of her thumb, Tatum Lierman, sophomore, has officially made the cautious decision to open up a world of possibilities. First she presses on Instagram, scrolls through, closes and switches to another social media, this is a daily cycle that consumes most teenagers.
According to Pew survey, 94 percent of teenagers have social media and 71 percent have multiple types of social media platforms. These numbers are continually on the rise.
“A negative impact social media has is obsessing over certain ideas of the perfect body, the perfect food to eat and the perfect clothes to have. Everyone sees an imagine and they say, “I want to be like that” regardless of who they are,” said Lierman.
She realized this a couple years ago. When reflecting on her life, she found that her phone consumed most of her free-time and that it was time for a cleanse. She switched to a rotary phone she found at a First Friday event and with this, contacted mainly her two best friends, parents and dance teacher.
“When I gave up my phone, I found a certain happiness that I’ve never experienced or found before,” said Lierman. “I laughed a lot more. I found joy in a lot more. I finally understood what it meant to live as a teenager.”
Lierman found joy in painting, her close friends and finding time to meeting new people. Through her cleanse, she was able to cut out the negative and replace it with the positive by focusing on things that truly mattered.
“I think that everyone needs to experience giving up something they use everyday to find out who they really are and how they really feel all the time.” said Lierman.
She has found happiness in everyday things that she originally took for granted. Although she has switched back to using her smartphone, she still carries the same values as she did a couple years ago.
“Happiness is something you choose to have. I don’t think it’s one thing. It’s many things added up together. A lot of people search for happiness in the wrong things, but sometimes you’re happiest with things you least imagine,” said Lierman. “True happiness is something planted and grown over time and has to flourish. You can’t just wake up one day and be like I have happiness. It takes a long time.”