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The news that keeps us Onward On!

The Carroll News

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The Carroll News

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Alissa at the apex: time away from social media is good for the soul

Acknowledging the elephant in the room: why am I not active on social media?
Alissa Van Dress
A photo of tulips taken by Campus Editor Alissa Van Dress on her iPhone 13 Pro at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

As a 2003 born American, social media has been in my life longer than it hasn’t been in my life. While I didn’t eat the forbidden fruit until third grade when I received an iPod Touch for Christmas, I feel that I was predisposed to social media through Nintendo devices; messaging in Wii and D.S was too enchanting not to want more of it.

Although MySpace was before my time, I remember playing and downloading some old-school apps on my iPod Touch such as Angry Birds, Doodle Jump, Cut the Rope, Fruit Ninja and Temple Run. Soon after, I migrated to social media platforms (some of which have been removed from the app store) such as Vine, Kik Messenger, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and later (before it became TikTok). It was fascinating to interact with people in different states or even countries. In fact, my best friend and I wouldn’t have stayed in touch if it wasn’t for social media due to moving and living in separate states.

In sixth grade, I begged for a cell phone, arguing to my parents that it was time because my friends and I were starting to go places without adults. My wish was granted: I received the iPhone 6 for Christmas. After its two-year lease, it was upgraded to the iPhone 7 and I kept this phone until it literally wouldn’t turn on anymore. After six years, my iPhone 7 was traded in for an iPhone 13 Pro in 2022.

Looking back, I wonder how my life would have been if I hadn’t received a phone at such a young age. Would I have had more time and energy to follow my passions? Would I have discovered what career I wanted to pursue at an earlier age? Was my childhood negated because of a phone? On the other hand, would I have been able to grow with my best friend?

When my iPhone 7 failed to turn on, it took two weeks until I was able to purchase a replacement — two weeks free of bugging notifications and pressure to respond to messages as quickly as possible. Two weeks of peace.

My time cut off from social media was an eye-opening experience and one that taught me a salient lesson: I do not need a cell phone to live. In fact, I was happier and more free without it. I felt more mindful, more like myself.

While I acknowledge that cell phones are useful for efficient communication, I still think that boundaries are necessary so it doesn’t become a controlling machine. In anything, a break is vital to refresh.

Now, I try to save social media for the professional world and save myself for the real world. My mind, body and soul have already thanked me for the change.

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About the Contributor
Alissa Van Dress
Alissa Van Dress, Campus Editor
Alissa Van Dress is a junior English major from Amherst, Ohio. She has a concentration in professional writing with minors in business, creative writing and Spanish and Hispanic Studies. Previously, Alissa served as the copy editor at The Carroll News. In addition to her current role as campus editor, Alissa is a JCU football and basketball cheerleader, a writing consultant at the JCU Writing Center, works as a digital engagement ambassador for the JCU Carroll Fund, and serves on the visual arts committee for The Carroll Review. Also, she is honored to have co-founded the Theatre Club at John Carroll University. Other than writing, some of Alissa's favorite hobbies include musical theater, vocal performance, fashion, dance and cheerleading/acrobatics. After graduation, Alissa plans to write for children's entertainment.

To contact Alissa, email her at [email protected].

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