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The one change that didn’t work: I deleted all my social media apps – and found myself bored

A year into the pandemic, in early 2021, I was spending most of my time online. I sat and I scrolled – on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – letting the latest horrifying news wash over me, or watching videos of cute animals, or messaging bored friends about our mutual states of crisis.

The more I scrolled, the more all-consuming it became. I found myself instinctively reaching for my phone whenever I could. I would write a paragraph of a piece with a tight deadline, then have a browse on Twitter as a treat. I would watch TV and simultaneously check Instagram during scenes that lost my attention; even in bed, I would scroll to get to sleep and wake up to my phone’s blue light.

One morning, I woke up to a notification that one of my social media passwords had been compromised. I swiftly changed it and accepted my phone’s prompt to log me out of all my accounts, just to be safe. Unbeknown to me, I had two-factor authentication enabled on my Facebook account but now couldn’t get the code I needed to log in because I had to log in to get the code. I was locked out.

Read the feature in the Guardian.

[This piece was published on 26/01/22]

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