Technology is now present in every aspect of our lives.

From the moment we wake up to the sound of our alarm, to the moment we lay our heads down, it rules our day. Since the emergence of Instagram and Snapchat, higher standards have been structured for teenagers and young adults. The pressure to look a certain way, to have a certain amount of followers, to have enough likes or views to feel like you’re special, has started to affect our mental health.

A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that the more time young adults spend on social media the more likely that they have trouble sleeping and show increased signs of depression. A separate study also done at the University of Pittsburgh found a connection between the amount of time scrolling through social media and negative body image. Social media has many negative impacts on mental health and more often than not, studies have found that increased use leads to more symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Constantly counting likes, having fake friends, no face-to-face communication, and cyberbullying are just of the few destructive effects of using social media constantly.

A new national study showed that there was a significant rise in depression and mood disorders in 2011- right when social media began its climb into people’s lives. The group that was studied were born in 1995 or later, and all experienced a sharp increase in negative psychological symptoms. No symptoms were reported in older adults. Other evidence shows that the rate of young adults with suicidal thoughts increased by 47% from 2008-2017. This time gap is right around the time that Instagram became popular, and the idea of Snapchat started to become a reality.

What can we do to help our mental health and not be so glued to our phones?

It’s time to offload the apps.

I know it may not be ideal, and some people will think I’m crazy, but the evidence is undeniable. One of the best ways to help your mental health is to simply delete the apps. Just by not using Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Facebook for a month you’ll be happier, feel more present in life, and can gain up to 10 hours of time that you didn’t have before. Your mental health is at stake with scrolling through Instagram, and it isn’t benefiting you positively. At first I didn’t realize it, but it’s time for a change. I’m going to challenge myself to use social media less and set my time limit to only one hour a day. After that, I plan on deleting one app at a time, and I hope you’re inspired enough to join me.