You’re sitting on your couch, staring at the TV on spring break, all of the shows already watched. You decide to look at Instagram, in search of a cure for your boredom. When you look at your phone, a small screen in your hand, you see your friends in the Caribbean, relaxing on the beach, ziplining in Costa Rica, or taking a picture from the top of the Eiffel Tower.
Staying home for the two long weeks of spring break every year—looking at other people vacationing—can be depressing. While you’re seeing other people having fun and playing at the beach, you are sitting at home on a dreary, rainy day becoming more depressed as the minutes pass.
Studies have shown that following your friends’ feeds on Instagram can trigger envy and resentment among friends, and even the people who share their experiences can end up feeling lonely and depressed. While social media can often be entertaining and a fun way to interact with friends, it can also have its challenges. Middle-schoolers everywhere can be brought down by posts on social media, especially over the summer and spring and winter breaks when people are traveling. Studies have also shown that Instagram is more dispiriting than Facebook, since its visual format doesn’t have as much text to create space amongst the feed of pictures.
While I sometimes envy my friends’ advantages, I remember that when they return from their big trips, they will have the same qualities as they did before they left, and we will return to be the same great friends as when they left.