It’s 11pm. You could have gone to sleep an hour ago, but somehow you’ve ended up reading a 34-Tweet thread about veganism, and between that, the cat videos on Instagram and a Facebook profile deep-dive into someone from school you forgot existed, 60 minutes have passed.
It’s a situation more people will recognise than like to admit. Over the past 15 years, social media has become a life-changing, all-consuming staple of our days. It affects everything from our dinner table etiquette (I’m an airplane mode-on, phone-in-bag type, personally) to the state of our global democracy.
And if we’re honest, we all know that social media isn’t very good for us. Studies have shown that it can encourage us to spend more money, sway our independent thinking and alter the part of our brain that reacts to incentive. It doesn’t take an academic paper, either, to express that slightly soggy, sinking feeling that comes from watching Instagram stories of someone else’s amazing night out.
So how to encourage a healthier relationship with social media? There are plenty ready to make the case for deleting it entirely – here are some books that Penguin suggest will help: