We can all agree 2020 was a terrible year. Whether you were working on the frontlines or staying home to stop the spread, 2020 was the year that felt like it WOULD NEVER END. Every other Instagram post seemed to feature people rediscovering old hobbies or developing new ones as a coping mechanism for too much free time.
In all seriousness…how many people on Instagram do you know publicly bragged about baking bread for the first time? Bread baking is literally one of the foundations upon which modern society was built, and Kevin from Wisconsin thinks he’s incredible for producing one loaf that doesn’t suck. That alone almost gave us enough reason to deactivate our Instagram accounts. Don’t get us started on the time-lapse yoga videos.
With the pandemic leading to an increase in working from home (or unfortunately being laid off entirely), the way we use the Internet has changed dramatically. During the pandemic, we observed an e-commerce boom and a surprising decline in mobile browsing. We don’t use our smartphones the way we did pre-pandemic because the majority of us are home more often.
This has shown a surprising change in social media engagement, with less and less people using apps like Instagram and Facebook. After months of boring bread posts and yoga time-lapses, can you blame them?
The trend of disengaging with social media isn’t new, but it has been growing. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2018 68 percent of Americans either quit or took a break from social media (i.e. deactivated their Instagram account, deleted Facebook, etc.). This is for good reason, too. Studies have shown seriously negative side effects of social media, including its highly addictive nature. Researchers are now even linking “Instagram addiction” to mental health risks and even depression!
Instagram is not only bad for your productivity, but it is also terrible for your health.
2021 is the year to learn how to permanently delete your Instagram account forever!
Instagram Is Making Us Miserable
No one is immune to what is known as the Social Comparison Theory. As humans, it is our innate drive to constantly compare and evaluate ourselves against others across a various categories like attractiveness, wealth, intelligence, and success. Instagram, unfortunately, makes it easy to engage in this type of behavior on an unprecedented scale that previously wasn’t possible in society before social media.
On Instagram, we can compare ourselves–our outfits, our home, our careers, our diets, anything about our lives–with dozens or even hundreds of other people in minutes. It is too easy to become dissatisfied with your own life if you’re constantly looking at someone else’s picture-perfect life. But if you permanently delete your Instagram account, you will effectively be limiting your ability to compare yourself to others.
Having the ability to compare yourselves to hundreds of people at your fingertips can wreak havoc on your mental health. But don’t just take it from us. Psychology Today published an article in 2015 about why comparing yourself to others should be avoided. In the article, they include three main reasons why using social comparisons is wrong.
The first: what you see is not reality
The incredible vacations, the enviable professional accomplishments, the perfect children and spouses we see on our friends’ Instagram pages are merely a tiny fraction of their actual lives. What you see may be true, but you’re definitely not seeing every aspect of that person’s life. Most people only post the best and happiest moments of their lives on their social media.
Instagram photos are usually perfectly filtered and airbrushed in Photoshop, but not before they’ve been expertly detailed and curated for their beauty. You’re not looking at real life when you look at someone’s Instagram feed. It’s easy to be full of envy when we see photos of our friends with their suntanned family on a tropical vacation. What you don’t see is the financial stress that vacation takes or the pain of whiny kids in a faraway land. Or how sand manages to get EVERYWHERE!
If we knew what someone’s life was REALLY like, and not just what we see on Instagram, we might not feel so bad about our own lives when we compare ourselves to someone’s carefully curated Instagram feed.
The second reason why social comparisons are wrong: life isn’t fair.
Everyone’s heard it before: life isn’t fair. Some people are born with more advantages than others, whether it’s a fast metabolism or a perfect nose. When we compare ourselves unfavorably to others, we may beat ourselves up for not trying hard enough, even if hard work had nothing to do with the other person’s successes. The differences we see, especially on Instagram, usually reflect an uneven playing field.
Comparing yourself to someone who has had different advantages in life will only cause you pain and anxiety. Just one scroll through Rich Kids of Instagram will make you wish you disabled your Instagram account yesterday!
If you think about it, Instagram is basically a digital playground for masochists.
The third reason why social comparisons are wrong: comparisons turn friends and allies into rivals.
Because we innately compare ourselves to others, it is easy for us to become jealous. Envy often undermines our ability to truly celebrate the joys and accomplishments of others. When we use Instagram to compare ourselves to others, even our close friends, it can breed resentment and discontent.
When you are jealous of someone, it can be challenging to remain friends with them. If you eventually want to end up bitterly hating all of your friends and allies, Instagram is the social media channel for you!
If you must make comparisons, Psychology Today recommends considering something called “temporal comparison” instead. The idea is that instead of comparing yourself to someone else, you are comparing yourself to where you were in the past, or to where you want to be in the future.
This type of comparison helps us structure our goals and troubleshoot, allowing us to focus on self-improvement instead of one-upmanship. Instagram, by its nature, is the furthest thing from temporal comparison, offering dozens upon dozens of opportunities to compare yourselves to others instantly at your fingertips. If you are struggling with constantly comparing yourself to others, deactivating your Instagram account may be the first step to stopping entirely!
After the year we’ve had in 2020, the last thing you need to do is spend your energy comparing yourself to others. If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling on Instagram for hours without joy or purpose, permanently deleting or deactivating your Instagram account should be the first item on your agenda for 2021.
Are you ready to kill it, delete it, disable it?
How to Permanently Delete Your Instagram Account
Instagram advises, “When you delete your account, your profile, photos, videos, comments, likes and followers will be permanently removed. If you’d just like to take a break, you can temporarily disable your account instead.”
Before you begin to disable account Instagram recommends that you login and download a copy of your account which includes photos and posts. Once you delete the account the option to download data (the images and posts) disappears.
Start at the Delete Your Account page from a mobile browser or computer. If you’re not logged into Instagram on the web, you’ll be asked to log in first. You can’t delete your account from within the Instagram app.
Select an option from the drop-down menu next to Why are you deleting your account? and re-enter your password. The option to permanently delete your account will only appear after you’ve selected a reason from the menu.
Click or tap the button Permanently delete my account.
If you’d like to delete a different account:
Click or tap the username in the top-right of the Delete Your Account page.
Click or tap gear icon next to the Edit Profile and select Log Out.
Log back in as the account you want to delete and follow the directions above.
After 30 days of your account deletion request, your account and all your information will be permanently deleted from the platform, and you won’t be able to retrieve your information or request download. It may take up to 90 days from the beginning of the deletion process to delete all the things you’ve posted. While we’re deleting this information, it’s not accessible to other people using Instagram.
Copies of your information may remain after the 90 days in backup storage that Instagram uses to recover in the event of a disaster, software error, or other data loss event. Instagram may also keep your information for things like legal issues or privacy issues or privacy concerns, terms violations, or harm prevention efforts. Learn more about this in the Instagram Data Policy.