When I was 7, I spent most of my time with family.
I blissfully colored in and out of the lines for hours at Sunday school as my parents sat listening to the pastor's sermon. I ran circles on our lawn as my siblings, and I let our imagination blur with reality.
When I was 10, I had sleepovers with my friends almost every night.
We'd gather at my house, make popcorn to the best of our ability, and play with heaps of toys till' the sun left the sky. We'd share stories of boys with cooties and those without, laughing and gossiping about the very little we knew. We'd nibble pizza, cookies, and every sugar-coated carbohydrate we could find within reach.
When I was 12, I did everything I could to fit in.
Alongside my entire middle school, I created a Facebook account as fast as my mother's HP computer could. I accepted 300 acquaintances as my friends and updated my status, before my parents, about the emotional social rollercoaster that is middle-school.
When I was 14, I got an iPhone 3 for Christmas.
My parents left for church while I lay on the couch reading "Holy Bible Tweets Daily." The soft curve of the phone fit perfectly in my palm as I abused my unlimited data plan. I tweeted during breakfast and streamed during dinner, sharing posts instead of family conversation.
When I was 16, I searched "How to Get Over an Ex" on YouTube.
I watched endless videos of digital gurus giving me advice on how to move on from my one-month fling. I gained comfort from my friends through quality Skype time and exchanges of encouraging DMs.
When I was 18, I made an Instagram.
I flinched at every ring buzz and ding hoping the sound originated from my notifications. I posted photos of laughs and luxuries while lying in bed, wiping watery eyes. My gaze was glued to my profile as I tirelessly awaited red hearts and thumb-ups to takeover my screen.
Today, I am 20 and will spend three plus hours on social media.
And when I become 40,
I will have spent two and a half years of my life doing just that.
Kat Nance, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s Fall 2018 Media Law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: Are you or someone you know addicted to social media? Has social media affected your or your friend' s study habits by spending too much time scrolling through Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter or watching videos on YouTube?