/Idle hands are Zuckerburg’s playground
Graphic by Bell Jackson.

Idle hands are Zuckerburg’s playground

By Madelyn Alexander, Editor in chief 

As summer comes to an end, I usually find myself relieved by the interruption of school. Idle hands are the devil’s playground after all. Maybe that is because of how much of my free time goes to social media. I’m ashamed to admit it, but I’m addicted.  

I think, as a society overall we consume so much media daily, we forget that level of consumption is not healthy. It’s not healthy to engross ourselves in the lives of others. It’s not healthy to spend multiple hours on end staring at a screen. Yet, many of us are guilty of just that. 

In my experience, the addiction is fed by free time and boredom. Even with two jobs on my plate this summer, I found myself raking in an average of four hours of screen time a day. 

I guess I shouldn’t complain too much. The U.S. average screen time according to Comparitech.com is around seven hours per day.   

Still, I can’t help but think about all the better ways I could be spending my time. Even when I am with my friends and family, it seems like I have my phone in my hand.  

This semester, I am setting the personal goal of decreasing my screen time. More specifically I want to decrease the amount of time I spend scrolling on social media. I owe it to myself, the mental break from it all.  

Because of all the side effects of my elevated screen time, the emotional toll is most pressing.  

From local news, natural disasters, political turmoil and a seemingly never-ending stream of world-shattering events, I am so tired of paying attention. The pessimist in me is having a field day.  

We have all heard the saying, “ignorance is bliss.” I have never understood that saying more than I do now. I have never been less ignorant, thanks to social media.  

It’s a different kind of awareness that I have now, though. As much as I feel bombarded with information, there is also so much misinformation to weed through. When you default to a totally public, widely accessible platform for news, that is the risk you take.  

I have the unique advantage of working at a news station, so I know how to verify the things I see online. But not many people have that, and not many people take it upon themselves to do the research before believing what they read.  

So, it comes down to who you trust. If a friend shares something online you’re probably going to believe them before you believe the posts of a stranger. But just because someone is your friend doesn’t necessarily mean they are a reliable source of information.  

That is why I think a social media addiction is so dangerous. It is so easy to be fooled by selective cropping of a photo or misrepresentation of a quote. All this being said, I hope that as Editor in chief of The Alabamian, I can create a reliable source of information for you, our readers.  

In return, I ask that you fact-check your findings. Whether it’s online, by word of mouth or in this paper. Mistakes happen—we have all been misinformed at some point—but it is never too late to correct those mistakes. And learning from it is always the most important part

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Madelyn Alexander is the Editor in chief for The Alabamian. She is a senior art major with a minor in multimedia journalism. Her hobbies include ceramics, reading and collecting plants.