If you spend hours scrolling through feeds on Instagram, watching TikTok videos or scrolling through threads on Twitter, know that celebrities do it too, just like you. But the effect of social media on stars (as on anyone) can sometimes be very negative and generate anxiety, depression, unmanageable feelings of comparison. That is why some stars have decided to unplug from the virtual world for a while and why it would be good for everyone.
Social Detox or, also, Digital Detox: in a world that is increasingly connected and interconnected, fast, public, bright, technological: today more than ever, we are lost without smartphones and Internet connection. But this urgency, or addiction, affects our psycho-physical health in the long run. We really need to take breaks. Celebrities, among the latest Tom Holland, know this and do it too.
Why some stars have deleted themselves from social media
The big-screen Spider Man admitted last August that online platforms have become detrimental to his well-being, because he 'goes into a spiral when he reads things about himself online'. So after a fleeting IG video to greet his 67 million followers, he deleted his Instagram and Twitter accounts from his devices.
Many colleagues applauded him in this choice to be considered, and not only if a star, when one realises that social media is becoming too cumbersome a presence in one's day or stealing too much time from family and real interaction.
Holland's Justin Bieber, also often on/off the Net, is on the same wavelength. Among those who say they have benefited from the (temporary) deletion of their Instagram account was, for example, Selena Gomez, who has since returned to appear on the screens of her millions of followers (but many think she no longer manages her social media). Hers and Holland's are, however, more than understandable and respectable choices, of those who know how toxic social media can be and how it does not contribute to the well-being of their mental state.
Less social, more tranquillity
As experts from the mental health charity MIND explain in detail, overdosing on social can increase feelings of negativity, depression, self-parody and more, while the Royal Society For Public Health revealed that in a survey, 91 per cent of respondents found that using social media makes them anxious and agitated.
In short, understanding when it is time to really unplug from the virtual world and stop for a long, short time is crucial. Take a look at the celebrities who have taken a break from social in the gallery.
The Stranger Things star deleted her Twitter account in 2018 as she was targeted by haters after some of her photos accompanied by homophobic captions went viral. In 2022, Millie also left TikTok. Probably, again, due to the amount of inappropriate and hateful messages she kept receiving.
In a recent video posted on his Instagram account, which has racked up more than 20 million views, the actor said: 'I'm taking a break from social media for my mental health, because I find Instagram and Twitter too overwhelming, damaging spirals of obsession. So I have decided to take a step back and delete the app. Please take some time to watch my video and if you feel like sharing it with anyone who might find themselves there, it would be greatly appreciated"
Kendall Jenner shocked her social media followers when she deleted her Instagram account in November 2016. As one of the most followed models and reality stars on the planet, the news made headlines, but for Jenner, going offline was something she needed for good and her health. During an appearance on 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show', she explained: 'I felt like I just wanted a break. … I would wake up in the morning and look at Instagram first thing. I'd go to bed and it was the last thing I'd look at a. I was feeling a little too addicted to it, so I wanted to unplug, detox." After a week, the supermodel was back online.
Harry Styles, as well as another former One Direction member Zayn Malik, has regularly taken breaks from social media over the years. Harry has often described social media as super dangerous and that it's best for one's mental health to detach from it as it fuels people's hatred and, in particular, for those who lash out at his girlfriend Olivia Wilde just because of age issues. 'It's a shitty place where people try to be horrible to their fellow man,' he said referring to Twitter, but the implicit reference goes to every social platform.
Although she has an active account, the British pop star rarely posts or comments – despite having over 50 million followers on Instagram alone. Probably because the account is not even hers. In fact, she revealed in an interview that she does not actually have a password for her official Instagram account. She revealed that she created a secret Twitter account earlier this year to keep tabs on things after she cancelled her Las Vegas tour, but admitted that following it only upset her more.
Another celebrity who doesn't use social media? Justin Bieber, who has often been on off from Instagram over the years. In the summer of 2016, the Sorry singer was overwhelmed by hateful comments about his former flame Sofia Richie and deleted them to protect his own mental well-being. Justin – as we now know happily married to Hailey Bieber – returned to social in 2017.
Kanye West left online platforms many years ago, but seems to regularly reactivate his Instagram, only to delete from it again. Over the past year, he has been on and off social and recently deleted almost every post.
Although a singer and body positive icon, he occasionally comes off social to protect his mental health. After facing many keyboard lions, she left Instagram and Twitter in 2020. A year later, to coincide with the release of the track Rumors featuring Cardi B, Lizzo made her comeback in the best way possible, which was by chirping, "Hey everyone… I heard I got trending so I decided to come back here… what's going on?"
In 2017, Selena deleted her Instagram account after it was hacked. Since then, Selena has never 'set foot' on the social, which she left for good along with other platforms, although her IG account, with over 300 million followers, is still going strong. She told Good Morning America in April 2022 that she has a team publishing her content online and added: 'I'm happier. I'm more present, I connect with people more. It makes me feel normal. Before, I used to fixate a lot on negative comments and I wasn't doing well."
In December 2019, the British singer told his followers on Instagram that he would step away from social media after his two-and-a-half-year tour was officially over. Needing a well-deserved break, he wrote: 'Hi everyone. I'm going to take another break again. I need to get out and see the world a bit more . … I will be away from all social media for as long as I need'. Sheeran then returned to Instagram in September 2020 to announce the birth of his daughter, Lyra Antarctica Seaborn.
Written by Michael Zippo
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