How to delete Instagram and have a digital detox
From tracking your social media usage to a step-by-step guide on how to delete Instagram, here's everything you need to know about having a social media detox
It’s well documented that filtered photos, showing only a posed snapshot of the real event, can cause anxiety, FOMO (fear of missing out) and loneliness in onlookers. What’s more, according to a recent NHS survey, mental health problems related to social media usage are on the rise in the UK, with Instagram ranked as the worst offender.
Other research has recently found that smartphone owners check their device once every 12 minutes on average – a frequency that sounds like addiction when you think about it. Could now be the time to embrace a digital detox? You don’t necessarily have to go the whole hog and delete your Instagram account or Facebook page for good, but giving your mind a break from the world of social media influencers and time-draining apps is no bad thing. Here are some tips for restoring your boundaries.
Track your social media usage
Tracking the time you spend on social media is expected to be one of the big wellness trends of 2019. Forget comparing likes on Instagram, it’s time to cut down on – and show off – your decreased use of social media.
Social Fever is an app aiming to combat smartphone addiction. The app, available on Google Play, sends users a daily report and enables them to set a time restriction for each social site, sending them an alert message when they cross it. More enjoyable, though, is the award-winning iOS app Forest, which sees a tree grow to symbolise your productivity from reduced time spent checking your phone.
Another approach is to keep using social media, but change up who you’re following. One Instagram account that should be on your radar in 2019 is ‘This Much I Know’. Set up by former Vogue UK Deputy Editor Emily Sheffield, the page provides a daily briefing including five global news stories you should be aware of by 9am.
Give yourself a limited social media allowance
Having a digital detox doesn’t necessarily mean going cold turkey. It’s about taking back control of how much time you, or your children, spend looking at screens and cutting down if you think you might be zoning out online too much.
Set yourself realistic goals and time frames for when you can or can’t wile away time on your social newsfeed. If you’re worried the temptation to break your self-imposed restrictions might be too great, hand over control of your social accounts to a trusted friend and let them keep you from logging on outside your chosen allowance. Or, install App Detox (available on Google Play devices) or ShutApp (on iOS), both of which allow users to manually select apps they want to block and how long they want to withhold access for.
As a final piece of advice, try not to use any screened device in the final two hours before you go to bed and remember to turn off all devices or remove them from your room before you settle down. The blue light emitted stimulates your brain, suppressing the release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin, making it hard to fall asleep.
See friends in the real world
Use your social media detox as a chance to reconnect with those whose company you enjoy. Arrange to meet the friend whose photos you always like on Instagram, or the ones you message semi-regularly on Facebook or Whatsapp, always signing off with ‘Let’s meet up soon! x’ without ever committing to a date or time. You’re sure to have a more genuine and thorough catch up face-to-face, so make plans to grab a coffee, glass of wine or to do an activity of your choosing in the real world.
Rekindle a passion for your offline hobbies
That book you bought as a summer holiday read but still haven’t got round to opening? The short story you wanted to write? The easel and watercolour paint set growing a thick layer of dust in the attic? Now’s the time to immerse yourself in the hobbies you never seem to have time for, or projects you keep putting off because you’ve lost track of time browsing online.
How to delete Instagram (if you really want to)
If you’ve read our advice on how to have a digital detox, but know what you really want to do is delete your Instagram account for good, you can. Just remember, deleting your account means your profile, photos and all your activity will be permanently removed, too. You also can’t reactivate your account or sign up with the same username again. But, if you’re really ready to wave goodbye, here’s a handy little step-by-step guide:
Log into Instagram and go to: settings > help centre > manage your account > delete your account > and follow the link to the ‘delete your account’ page. You’ll be asked to select an option from a drop-down menu on why you’re deleting your account and re-enter your password. The option to permanently delete your account then appears and voilà, with one click your Instagram account can be deleted.
Meanwhile, if it’s Facebook that’s bothering you and you’re looking to join the #DeleteFacebook movement, it’s a relatively straightforward process (once you’re on ‘settings’). The good news is, Facebook allows users to download the data stored about them on the site (here's how), so you won’t have to lose photos from, say, your girls holiday in 2010, or a funny message thread you want to keep.
Happy social media detoxing – good luck with it!