Unplugging the addiction: Teens leave Facebook

Michaela Ravasio

A seemingly simple 30-minute homework assignment takes three hours to complete, a 10 p.m. bedtime turns into midnight, a task is left unfinished, and the computer keeps whirring.

Pre-2004, one might have wondered what was causing this never-ending time suck. Today, the culprit is obvious: Facebook.

There are now more than 800 million active users worldwide, and the students of Redwood High School are no exception to this wave of Facebook activity flooding the globe.

According to the January 2011 Bark survey, 91 percent of students use Facebook at least once a week.

So what about the students who have walked away from the international phenomena? What’s their reasoning?

Victoria Leslie, senior, said one of the reasons she deactivated her account was because she thinks Facebook makes it difficult for teenagers to be individuals.

“It’s hard to be your own person and do your own thing when you’re constantly watching other people’s lives, looking at stuff you wouldn’t otherwise know about or hear about,” Leslie said. “Everyone is so swayed by what everyone else is doing. Even if you don’t even know that person, you can still see their life.”

Senior Matt Healy said he deleted his Facebook because it took up too much of his time.

“Facebook just distracted me all day,” Healy said. “When I was doing homework and stuff I would just have it open the whole time. Now, without it, I just get right through it.”

Leslie said that when she deleted her Facebook, she used her computer about 75 percent less.

“When I deleted my Facebook, I set goals for myself and made a bucket list, just a bunch of stuff I had time to do without Facebook,” Leslie said. “My life’s basically the same, except now on a Sunday night I’m reading a book or watching a movie, not looking at other people’s weekends.”

Mason Jacobs, freshman, said he had a Facebook in seventh grade, but never reactivated his account after deleting it in eighth grade. Jacobs said he didn’t see the point of Facebook and easily got bored with it.

“The really hilarious thing I couldn’t stand the most is how all the girls constantly would edit all their photos, and then add really dumb, cheesy, really girly quotes,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said another amusing and pointless aspect of Facebook was the constant status updates.

“The people who update their status every 20 minutes are just hilarious,” Jacobs said. “Like, oh, ‘I’m eating lunch’ or, ‘I’m sitting at home.”

Sophia Zaklikowski, senior, has deleted her Facebook numerous times over the course of several months, but eventually reactivated her account each time.

Though Zaklikowski eventually decided she wanted her Facebook back, she said that when she didn’t have her account, she had more time to focus on reading and art.

“When I was bored, I actually had to create my own entertainment, instead of being entertained by other people’s lives,” Zaklikowski said.

Leslie said that when she first deleted her account, it felt like her social life got quieter, but soon she realized that this was not actually the case.

“It’s just because Facebook makes you feel like you have more friends than you actually do,” Leslie said. “There are so many people who will chat you or comment on your photos, who wouldn’t text you or say hi in person.”

Leslie, who lived in Argentina until she was 13, said she found the first couple weeks without Facebook particularly difficult because it was the best way to stay in touch with her old friends.

“I really wanted to get [Facebook] back at first,” Leslie said. “It was kind of hard, almost like an addiction. But after a couple months I just literally didn’t even think about it anymore. Now, when I look at my friends’ accounts, it’s just not even fun. I have no desire to use it anymore.”