Hello-hello-hello and welcome to the BigAppleSchool podcast – the weekly English show where we speak about everything under the sun. The major goal of this show is to help you improve your English and of course learn something new. My name is Katya, I’m your host, and today with me…
Is Ken from the Philippines.
Maria from Russia, Novokuznetsk.
Guys, you know, we are doing our best to be as useful to you as possible, and we would like to get some feedback about it. So, subscribe to our pages on Apple, Yandex, Google, VK or other platforms and let us know what you think about our show.
So rate and revies our show, give us stars, leave comments, ask questions and feel free to send your ideas about our next episodes. It won’t take much time or effort, but it will make us even better. So, and Maria, Ken and I are going to talk about a very controversial and very topical issue which is social networks.
So tell me guys, do you use social networks? Okay, no, let me rephrase that – what social networks do you use?
Yeah, it will be like more correct.
Yeah, well, you maty start off.
Yeah well, as for me, I guess I only use two social networking sites, which is VK and Instagram. And for me that’s enough. I think I’m already addicted to these two,
What do you use them for?
Well initially I used VK mostly for listening to music. And well, for keeping in touch with some friends of mine who live in another city, because well, I like how direct messages are designed in VK. I guess it’s convenient. More convenient than, let’s say, Instagram or maybe even WhatsApp. So I like to text there.
That’s actually funny because if you ask almost any Russian, any Russian person, they would say VK, VK, VK, so which is why it’s more interesting to ask Ken.
Well, speaking of VK, I do have VK as well, for our regular listeners for sure, you know, they’ve heard of me before and, well, previously I was in Kazakhstan and you know this social network, VK or as you call it Vkontakte if I pronounce that correctly.
It was introduced to me by my Russian, Korean and Kazakh students way back in Kazakhstan, and at first I thought- VK, what is it? And they said well it’s kind of like the Russian version of Facebook, and I thought to myself okay why not?
So I created my account ack in 2014 together with Instagram, because I once taught at a Turkish high school and then they insisted – Mr. Amante, why don’t you get your own account on Instagram? And so I thought – okay, well, why not?
But at the very beginning I thought – but I already have Facebook, do I have to have, you know, VK or Instagram? But then again, if you want to stay connected and you want to be up to date also with what the younger generation is up to, I thought okay, why not? So Instagram and VK in 2014, but way-way back in 2009 I created my Facebook account and in 2010 that was Twitter.
Ooo! So and do you use all of them nowadays?
Well, varying degrees. Firstly, twitter – I’m no longer that active. In fact I have deleted the app on my phone and then Facebook is the most active I must say because mostly it’s for Filipino friends. Including family and, you know, some previous Filipino colleagues. Instagram is mostly about photos and friends in Russia and Kazakhstan. VK is for, it’s the least used among my social networking accounts.
So you know what I found interesting is that you remember exactly when you created each account. I don’t, like, absolutely.
You know, very often I hear Russians describing VK to other countries, like, people from other countries as Russian Facebook, but better. Because it has like more functionality to it. And to be honest, every tine I log into my Facebook account, I am lost, because to me it’s so difficult to understand.
Yes, not user-friendly at all. And I mean, I don’t, well, every time I scroll through my newsfeed, it’s mostly like resharing of different, maybe, dog communities or something like that, funny pictures, so I am lost, it’s all the same.
So I don’t’ really see the updates of my friends’ lives, so for that I need to specifically go to their profiles, see what’s new, and very-very rarely I get notifications like oh your friend posted a life update. I’m like oh, okay.
But I have to admit there’s only one case, only one reason why I actually regularly go to Facebook. It’s that there is an amazing community of people who teach Russian as a foreign language. So when I need some advice or, you know, some help, I go there.
Yeah, it’s amazing. At first I thought why is it Facebook? But then I realized that most people who teach Russian as a foreign language they live in different countries, thus Facebook.
You know, and I just wanna comment on VK being better than Facebook – I am a living testament to it, because I can attest that it is much better. However because in the Philippines of course, there aren’t a lot of people actually that know that VK exists.
So they mostly use Facebook and that’s why, well, for the most part that is the account that I use. But in terms of, you know, how easy you can go around the page, yeah, that’s VK, I have to give it to VK.
And music as well. Especially when it was like unlimited.
So I also recently got, like, you know, on some of the social networks or social websites you get a notification when you have, like, your birthday, meaning like you’ve been on this website for this long. And I’ve realized that I’ve been on VK for 13 years. So it’s fun sometimes to look back and see how it’s evolved.
Have you noticed this tendency that, for example, for us it was VK, for the world it was Facebook, but now most people tend to move to Instagram and even like, you know, exchange messages there. Even though Facebook messenger is, actually, more convenient.
Yeah, and there is like trend to post long reads on Instagram. I don’t find them very comfortable to read and easy to read, but still, there is a trend.
I think it’s becoming more and mor popular. And even in my country, although Facebook remains as the top social network, you know, site, or networking site, nowadays people are beginning to, you know, creating their profiles on Instagram, and it’s becoming more and more popular.
And I do notice this a well. I think originally Instagram is created for the purpose of sharing photos. Mostly photos and then some, you know, some short clips or videos. But then again, nowadays people are having this long write-ups even almost like an article. And I thought – oh, okay, so changing times I guess.
Initially kit was like a joke that people only post their food pictures on Instagram, but it’s not like this anymore.
Actually, if we look at it, there have been so many different trends, and we can see like the evolution of Instagram. So because yeah, so we all posted pictures with no words maybe, but then we had hashtags, then we have like you know, tagged photos, long reads.
Now we even have an opportunity to save them, you know, to different highlights, if it is stories, to save the articles, the pictures to look at after. To me personally Instagram has become some kind of a photo album maybe. Like a diary.
So when I can’t remember where I was at that time, or I wanna remember what I did that year or that year, I go to Instagram, scroll and I’m like oh yeah, that’s so true, I did that, I did that. And I remember in 2017.
So, within the last 5 years I had different situations when my phones just died, so and I had no access to them and they were beyond repair. And I realized that a lot of my photos were only on Instagram, like that was the only way I could actually restore them. So I remember in 2017 somebody hacked my account.
So I had no access to it and I was so afraid that they would delete all the photos before I could actually save them. So I had to contact support system, I had to send them like photos of me writing something like my own like username, sending them a copy of my passport or something. But I got hold of my account. So and I had to have some two-step ID system or something like that, so now I’m safe.
I hope, yeah. But you’ve mentioned Twitter that you don’t use anymore.
You’ve never used it. I remember I used it once I think. Because I was following this guy, he has 4 daughters and he posts, you know, funny things that they say, but not anymore. And what do you think about Youtube? Cause this is a website or an app that millions, billions of people use these days. So what about you? Do you use that much?
Oh my god, it’s probably the most used on my phone, because for me Youtube is my main source of entertainment at the moment since I don’t really have television at home. And sometimes, whenever I want to watch shows from the Philippines…
just to remind me like hey, you’re from this country, yeah, because sometimes I forget that I’m from the Philippines, I need to somehow reconnect with my roots, right. So I go to Youtube to watch different Filipino shows, but most of the videos that I watch are actually from somewhere else, including here in Russia. Believe it or not, but I do watch Volos, like you know, Russian the voice.
Yeah, something different.
It’s almost like hair, volosy, right. Golos. Alright, what else? Some Ukrainian shows, believe it or not But majority of the videos that I watch are of course English videos. Mostly comedies. What else? Animal videos because I love love animals to death.
Vloggers, especially when it comes to travel, cause I love travelling. And every now and then I engage in some petty arguments online, especially if I watch political videos. I know that we have such a thing as, you know, etiquette online.
And there is a reminder by the way on Youtube to be careful with the words that you use, or you know, with the way that you deal with other commentors. But then again, sometimes you do come across with some across with some commentors who are definitely below the belt when it comes to commenting because you know, politics is a hot issue.
I think they are just people who, you know, do that on purpose, they just go and throw in a comment. They’re just trolls basically. They just want to, you know, make somebody argue, they want to annoy people, make them angry.
And you know I have this principle – I never, never am involved in any commenting online.
Because I tired once, I was called a stupid idiot and that’s when I stopped it.,
It’s interesting that you don’t engage because I know it’s really petty and you know, it’s a complete waste of time. But every now and then when I feel like, you know, commenting, and I have the energy and time, I do engage and I can be a bit nasty sometimes. Depending on you know…
I am very politically aware of what’s happening in the world, and sometimes I put it upon myself to educate, I’m sorry for the word, idiots online. For them to be educated. I know it’s not my responsibility, but sometimes you have to, you know, introduce some kind of point of view, in order for them to open their minds.
You’re still being a teacher when you, you know, entertain yourself.
You know, but have you noticed that you have energy and time, but after that you have neither.
And I’ve noticed that I tried, I’ve definitely tried to educate some people on some issues that I am aware of, but I have realized that they don’t care. They don’t want to see what is really happening, they don’t want to change their opinion. So why should I?
And maybe that’s because, sorry for interrupting, maybe that’s because they don’t trust people online? They don’t see you as an expert because you’re just some random guy with a nickname. That’s why.
Somehow that’s true. But I must say that in my case I do it sometimes out of pleasure, believe it or not, I get pleasure.
Oh is it your guilty pleasure?
Yeah, really. I guess for some reason I just love debating, but not in terms of, you know, vocally, in front of the person, but I like typing certain words, and I don’t know. Am I crazy? But I’m sure I’m not the only person in the world who feels.
Oh I’m pretty sure there are millions and millions. And wait, Masha, what about you?
I don’t necessarily see YouTube as a social networking site, because there is not much socializing. Of course there are comments, but they are not made for this purpose of communicating I guess. But I do use Youtube, I do watch lots of videos. Mostly it’s about music.
I like to, not videoclips I mean, but some channels that tell us about music, like educational, somehow. For example I like this guy from Belarus, whose channel is called Long play, I adore him. He’s very, well, informative and charming and nice.
So you have certain youtubers who you follow then?
Yeah, a lot of them are travel vloggers. Political vloggers as well. Historical vloggers because I do love history. And what else? Something to do with animals, I can’t name the exact pages right now, I’m too forgetful for that. But allow me to ask a question as well, if you don’t mind.
Since we are all teachers, and this is not just about, you know, Youtube, but other, well, as you’ve said, you don’t consider it as social network, if we talk about Youtube, but the bigger umbrella which is social media. So whenever you read comments, as a teacher, do you also comment on their, you know, accuracy in terms of grammar, spelling, punctuation?
Okay, let me rephrase it – are you a grammar nazi? That’s what you’re asking.
Exactly, exactly. So I wanna know.
Well I’m more often a grammar nazi in Russian than in English and when it comes to English I’m very tolerant. Well cause I’m a teacher and I know that for many people it’s a second language or a foreign language, so I am absolutely okay with the mistakes. But when it comes to Russian… Oh my god.
The inner devil in you wakes up.
But as I previously said, I don’t comment. I just try not to be involved in it, because I know it’s gonna be a vicious circle.
But you od notice the mistakes.
I do notice them. And they hurt me a lot.
Oh okay. I was gonna ask that because I wanna know how you feel whenever you see, oh my god, enormous mistakes.
Well, but some people who comment on YouTube they are just school kids and they are just unaware of making mistakes.
I feel like, you know, I’m out of… I don’t belong to this conversation about YouTube.
I mean, I don’t read comments in general. Because you know if you do…
If you ever do, you can become angry, you… I don’t care much about the mistakes actually. But yeah, I don’t read comments and actually I’m not often on Youtube, so the only situation when I actually open the website itself is when I know that there is a specific video that I wanna show to my students. That’s it. So I don’t really watch Youtube.
So you’re not subscribed to anyone?
I am not. I wanted to subscribe to a friend of mine who is a Youtuber and she has like half a million followers or something, but her channel is in Arabic, which means that I can only watch the picture and like admire her.
But I cannot really understand, so no, I’m not following any vlogger, any youtuber. But the only reason for that is because I live in Instagram, that’s basically it.
But I have a question though – because Ken, you said that you watch Youtube because you don’t have a tv. So do you think that Youtube nowadays is replacing television for a lot of people?
So I think it already has replaced.
Well, I would say that unless you’re from, I guess, the village, you know, and your internet connection might not be so god, then you would probably still be dependent on the television. For the most part in cities I believe that most people are, you know, online instead of relying on television.
Unless, you know, not discriminating elderly people, because I know some elderly people who are also, you now, online and they know how to use certain things online. I guess for the most part the elderly I would say would still watch, you know, television and I don’t think it has totally died out yet.
But I can see it sometime in the future, like, not just Youtube, but any other online platforms that will take over.
I agree, I agree. For example, I think I haven’t been watching tv for like 10 year already and I don’t have a tv set at my place and I’ve never had. But my parents, they have two tv sets. So when I come to visit them, tv is always on.
Same! Same! So my parents have three TVs, one in the living room, one in the bedroom, one in the kitchen. So every time they eat, every time my mom cooks, they turn the tv on, it’s like the background.
Actually, in the summer, when they were living at the dacha, they also brought one tv there, so they were always watching it. And it was funny because I was like how can you watch this trash? Because the programs really, they are just so dumb.
Well you know, my father he doesn’t even watch it. Tv is just on, without the sounds.
And he at the same time s sitting at his computer.
So he just needs some kind of a… not even noise…
But it’s not even noise, it’s some kind of a picture background.
He’s addicted, but not to the program, but to the tv itself.
Oh that’s’ interesting! Maybe that’s some kind of a habit, so they just got used to it.
Maybe a habit, maybe it calms him down somehow.
Maybe. Oh wow. So and speaking of social networks, so twitter, kinda discussed, Youtube, vk, Facebook. But what about this super trendy social network which is TikTok. So what do you know about it? Are you on there? What’s your attitude?
I just don’t think that I have a lot to say, I installed it to my phone, I checked it out, then I delayed tit, that’s it. That’s how it worked for me. Ken what about you?
So you were never attracted in the first place. So why did you download it in the first place?
I thought these videos were stupid kind of, and I just didn’t want to waste time looking for something that is worthwhile you know. So I just thought that I’m already addicted enough to social networking sites, so let it be as it is.
You know, in my case I’m becoming old as I always refer to myself. In my classes I always tell my class that I ‘m becoming a little bit of a… like a little dedushka, little grandfather.
Well, maybe physically or in terms of appearance, but in terms of age, well, I’m getting older. And in terms of TikTok, yeah, I do aware of the existence of such app, but I’ve never caught on the trend. Although it’s really popular in the Philippines.
In fact they would sometimes upload their videos on Facebook and oh okay. For example they play a song and then they dance to it. Others would even make jokes. I don’t know like funny videos using TikTok.
I find them extremely funny, but I thought to myself I’m too old for this, come on. I know 35 is not that old, I mean, I’m 35 by the way, but I just feel like it’s the end of my career when it comes to you know, being up to date with what’s out there. I am content with Facebook, Instagram, and then of course VK. That’s enough for me.
You know I thought that if I installed it, I would get hooked up on it. Just because there are so… like, you don’t need to think, that’s the thing. And sometimes you really want to give your brain a break.
Yeah, you just surf, you just switch from one video to another.
But then they started, you know, loading and uploading these TikTok videos to Instagram, so I’m like why do I need to, you know, actually install TikTok.
If all the best is already on Instagram.
Exactly. But I remember last year when I Was teaching first year students, and they are 18 or 19, and they’re like Katya, have you seen this? Have you seen that? I’m like guys, I’m not in TikTok. They’re like why? I’m like oh, well, at that time I had an excuse because I didn’t have any memory left on my phone.
And they were showing me, you know, the best TikToks that they could see and sometimes, you know, I had to ask them like, oh yeah, that’s funny, what is the joke though? They were like oh, Katya. They had to explain it.
But at some point the professor that I was working with, we were co-teaching, he and I, we were co-teaching a course of intensive Russian. And we gave a task which is if you make a meme about Russian or in Russian or you create a TikTok you will get an extra credit for the course.
So and they’re like, oh, they were 18-19 year-olds. They were so happy to get this task.
Of course, as teachers we should be up to date. At least to be aware of what is going on.
But what do you think made it so popular? Like millions of people are there, why?
You know, I don’t wanna say that it’s just a passing trend, but being the little dedushka that I am, I think it’s just ap sing tend, it’s gonna fade some time later. But anyway, I have nothing against it, just to be clear about that.
For our young listeners out there who might think oh come on, it’s just because you’re getting old. No, I’ve nothing against that. Okay. But I think one of the reasons why it’s becoming popular nowadays is because it’s just fun, as you’ve said, it’s something light, you don’t have to really think deeply.
Nothing serious about it, and personally whenever I watch TikTok videos even though I don’t have this app on my phone, I really find it very entertaining. I enjoy it a lot. And it’s so surprising because one of our former teachers here who does, what, cross fit? Or what does he do now?
So he has a TikTok account and sometimes he would upload them on Instagram,, and I thought oh, that’s cool. And then you can change the music. Really, I find it very entertaining.
Yeah, maybe it enables you to kind of creator, it’s short, I mean videos are quite short and they are mostly fun, nothing serious or challenging.
Yeah, that’s true. And have you heard the news that it got banned in several countries like in the US, in Pakistan, in India, in Hong Kong? So do you know anything about it? So why did it get banned?
Well I haven’t heard of it but I guess maybe because it was used by children and there is lots of like bad content, quotation marks.
You know what? Yeah, I’ve heard the news, although I didn’t really red the article itself, because I thought it’s just TikTok. But then again, if I’m not mistaken,. Probably it has something to do with the relationship between China and the US. I don’t know if…
Yeah, yeah. Something to do with politics.
Yeah, I tried to look into that and the main reason that was stated is that TikTok got banned due to national security concerns, so they said that TikTok collects extensive data about the users and they can like transfer the data.
But it is actually funny because if we look into this, a lot of social networks do the same. If anyone has watched, or have you guys watched the… what is it? The documentary called the Social Dilemma?
So it has a look inside social network and different websites like Google, because we use Google all the time, Facebook and things like that, and Instagram as well. So I think it’s kinda known that the data is being collected.
But we don’t see Instagram being banned. I think if it happened, oh my god.
You now, I just wanna put it out there, maybe because TikTok is… It’s created by China, I don’t know if you’re aware of that and I think it’s all about politics. I mean come on, as if Facebook, as if Facebook doesn’t steal personal information. It was an issue before also.
That’s a good comment, because now I realize that also WeChat got banned and that is kind of a social network…
So it’s not about the content, it’s about political issues.
I don’t wanna bring politics to the table…
But I will, because I am an expert.
But I will do it later in my commentary section.
I’ll do it later when I go home and then I’ll start arguing gain with strangers online. Which I love doing,
So and while we were talking about, well social media I said that I live in Instagram. Which is why I wanna ask you – have you ever checked your screen time?
Yes, I have, like when I got this phone for the first time I used to check my screen time for like a month, then I got upset and stopped doing it. Because it shows that I spend a lot of time online.
Several hours is very vague. It could be two, it could be eight.
I don’t want to be precise.
On Instagram it was about one hour and a half or something.
One hour and a half. And on Vk?
Well I don’t remember. Maybe I didn’t check the vk.
Alright. Ken have you ever checked your screen time?
Never, but if I were to give an estimate for all the accounts, not just Instagram?
Yeah, just the amount of time you use your phone basically.
Well, for social media purposes I would say the minimum is quarter of the day.
Math, I’m quickly doing math. Six hours?
When you don’t teach, when you don’t sleep.
Okay, I can even go beyond that sometimes, for example, fi I have, what? If I’m on holiday for example.
Well, then we have the time and energy to do that as well. But wow! So would you say then that you are actually addicted to your phone and social media?
I think I’m not sure you can call it that. Or maybe I am just in denial that I am addicted, so.
What’s the next stage though? It’s denial, anger…
This is the final, this is the final. Ken is on the way to that.
I’m getting there, I’m getting there.
So and well, I remember when I got the new phone and had a separate app or some kind of a function which was called digital wellbeing. And I thought oh, digital wellbeing, what’s that? And then it showed me the screen time and I was like no, there’s no way, no.
I can’t spend like 4 or 5 hours a day, I have work! I work! I do things! But then it actually turned out to be true, like if it’s a very busy day when I have a lot of classes, a lot of things to do, then it’s usually about 2 hours. But the less classes I have, the more time I tend to spend online.
Even though, well, okay. It’s like lying to myself I think, but on these days that I have a very big screen time I tell to myself, well, that’s because I was looking for the videos for the classes, or I was reading useful posts on Instagram.
Yes, excuses, excuses. But I have to be honest though, I do use Instagram to communicate with the teachers in Russia and worldwide to get some ideas.
Yes, yes. Let’s stick to that actually, not social network. But professional network.
Absolutely, it’s not like addiction, it’s professional development.
It’s like LinkedIn of today I guess.
That sounds better, better than addiction.
Right? But we have to, you know, we have to address this issue too. So, what does that mean to be addicted to a social network then? Is it solely and only the screen tie? Or do you think there are other aspects that we have to keep in mind?
Well I guess it is maybe about like so called fear of missing out.
When you’re not using your phone, not even social networking sites but your phone as it is, you feel that maybe now something interesting is going on and you are just unaware of it, so you need to check, you have this urge.
Oh my god, my FOMO is so strong. I own it, like, okay, I don’t deny, my FOMO is horrible, but yeah. So okay, fear of missing out, screen time, what else can be a part of this addiction?
You mean like bad consequences?
Not the consequences, but how do we know that a person is addicted? So if a person is constantly, you know, on the phone, is afraid to be missing out, what else can be a sign of it?
Well, apart from that, I think it’s an outlet of your emotions sometimes, your thoughts throughout the day, because well, if we talk about Facebook for example, it’s just the number one social networking site in the Philippines, and we, as Filipinos, are very expressive, yeah.
And we make Facebook as our diary, sometimes we just write down our thoughts like, oh my god, this weather is sucking the life out of me, it’s too hot right now. Or in my case, you know, I would sometimes give my opinion, like, I hope the people in the Philippines will bla-bla-bla-bla-bla.
Political comments again. Or my emotion at the time like I feel so happy today, I feel so blessed. And then I include a photo. You know, apart from the caption itself.
I think Facebook actually has made it quite easy, cause you can use the, like, there are several buttons of feelings I think.
So you may see in the newsfeed like Ken is feeling excited.
And then a picture, if you want to add a picture. Or, let’s say, Cindy is feeling sad, something like that.
So apart form, you know, social networking sites acting as a photo album which you have mentioned earlier, it’s also like your online diary.
Yeah and speaking of these signs that you’re addicted. You know, once I was reading a book, just a paperback book. And then I found this idea that I want to like some thought on this book and I can’t do it. And it got me frustrated and then I understood that I may be addicted the social networking sites. You just can’t like anything that you like in real life.
That is true. I also have noticed… I do not know if that’s a sign of being addicted to social media or to your phone in general, but I bet we all have been there when we are somewhere with our friends, and then we see that our friends or maybe us just looking at our phones. And you’re like guys, we are here to, you know, communicate, to socialize, to interact. Come on!
That is the negative consequence of being too dependent on you know, not just even the phone, but electronic gadgets in general. Because they have these tings such as social networking sites that make us to the point that you’re already in front of a friend..
you’re having dinner, but you’re busy using your phone which is, you know, that’s actually rude, but people don’t notice that. Because you see they don’t’ even, they’re not even aware that it’s wrong to do that.
Because they’re also on their phone.
I have, we have tried it one or twice I think. My friends and I. So when we were out and we were having a dinner or something so we made a rule or something so okay when the food is there, you’re allowed to take pictures because come on, come on. But then we put the phones on the corner of the table or, you know, screens down, and whoever checks the phone…
Oh you played this game, the phone-stack game.
Kinda. So whoever checks the phone has to buy drinks for the whole company and you know, if you’re in the US, with 4 people, it’s at least 45 bucks, nobody is ready to pay 45 bucks you know, just because they checked their phone. So that worked, that worked. We had one exception though which was if you have it screen’s up – if you mom calls, you can answer. In this case it’s a must.
But yeah, at some point I started to look into that and tried to analyze my own behavior in terms of social network usage and I’ve realized that I was guilty of the same thing. I was in a coffee shop with somebody, but then I was looking at my phone ,checking the newsfeed, and I Just had to stop myself, like, no, no, I’m interacting right now, quality time, like, we-time. No. But that is so difficult to do!
You know, I don’t think that I have this problem for example. Because when I’m with people, I’m with people and I think that is way too precious to really interact to really socialize than to post like you are socializing.
So we can clearly see an example of a non-addicted person, Masha, and a very addicted person.
Well I am addicted, but when I’m with people I just forget about it. So which makes me think that maybe I am addicted to social networking sites and to my phone when I’m like bored or when I’m very maybe you know, very tired, very busy at work. It’s just a kind of distraction for me. But when I’m on holiday for example I tend.. I don’t tend to use my phone a lot, just for taking pictures, of course.
But that would b like keeping memories.
So and how.. So we spend a lot of time on our phones, we have a huge screen time, or somewhat big screen time, but how can we reduce this? So can we reduce the screen time? What can we do?
That’s a very good question.
That’s actually quite difficult and before I, you know, answer this question, I just wanna address one more thing – it’s not just about not having a face-to-face interaction and being busy with your phone, well, you’re having a gathering with people.
It’s also going to concerts, because I don’t know if you noticed that, a lot of people who go to concerts they have their phone on instead of enjoying the moment. They tend to see, you know, the concert itself from the screen, which is.. This is insane! Why the heck you’re here! You’re supposed to be enjoying!
I also have questions to those who record this and post this, are you seriously gong to rewatch it later? Like please.
And let me add- apart from that, whenever I travel, I noticed that last year when I was in St Petersburg, so as I was walking around I kept taking photos and, you know, recording videos. And I thought what the heck?
I am enjoying all these places from my screen and then I, thank god, I realized that. And for a while I stopped it and I said okay, no phones, no cameras, just look at the damn thing, and just feel it, okay?
Going back to your question, if you could remind me, I’m so sorry.
How can we reduce the screen time and become less addicted?
It’s easier said than done but it comes with self-discipline, you have to know within yourself that you have, as I’ve said, I know it sounds like a cliché, but live in the moment. But then again you have to identify it first within yourself that you are doing it,
otherwise, without the recognition that you’re actually doing it, you won’t change it at all, it’s like with other kinds of addiction, unless you admit to yourself that you are an alcoholic, then you won’t do anything about it.
For example it reminds me of my addiction to sweet things and like every time I pen my fridge it’s not because I’m hungry, but because I’m bored or stressed or tired and the same about phones I guess.
Have you ever heard about such a thing as digital detox?
So what does that involve?
Like to be clean for a day or for a weekend, like to be off all social networks for some time.
I think it’s a good idea to have a bit of a digital detox, but at the same time I realize that I, for example, will never be able to just turn off my phone and go do things or don’t use social networks. But if I do that, you know, starting with baby steps – maybe an hour, then two hours, then three hours, who knows?
Maybe after that I can actually not use my phone for the whole day or for the whole weekend. And I have a tip for those who also get distracted a lot by social media -that, again, comes from the fact that I have this digital wellbeing app and function on my phone.
Because together with the screen time it shows how many times I unblocked my phone and how many notifications I have got. So average, just hear me out, average amount of notifications per day is 260.
260. When I post something, for example. I post three stories and one post on Instagram, then it can get up to 500 notifications per day. 500. And every time you have a notification, no matter what you do, you’re tempted to look at it.
It may be something unimportant, like weather, it may be a notification from your bank, like hey, check out your spendings for the week, but it’s still something that distracts you from what you are doing.
And I was reading this book about, it wasn’t so much about time management, but it was about how to get more things done. It’s called Jedi techniques to those who are interested, and it was addressing the problem of getting distracted by notifications and I thought why don’t I change the functions on my phone so that I don’t get notifications from things that are not important. Or you can block the notifications. You still get the messages, you still get whatever, just without notifications.
So, and I have realized that it actually might work. So it’s like the first, it can be the first step to reducing this, you know, this addiction.
And at least you don’t get stressed every time the phone screen starts to like shine.
I also know that people who are addicted to their phones again, not that I am addicted, yes I am, you know, we, they, they tend to have some sleep problems because of looking at the blue screen which keeps our brain kind of awake.
And I found this app, I’m afraid I don’t remember the name, but the darker it gets and the later it gets, the dimmer the light is, so by nighttime it turns totally black so you can’t actually look at it, you know. If you’re not in the darkness, if you’re not sleeping, so you’re like okay,
it's dark so I don’t need the bluescreen so I can just go to sleep, so you’re not as tempted to stay awake cause I have found myself so many times just scrolling Instagram newsfeed and especially the recommendations, the TikTok videos on Instagram until like 3 am and then I was like Jesus, what am I doing?
Which is, which reminds me by the way of your question you previously asked – which are the signs that you are addicted – sleeping with your phone beside you. This is the sign that we are addicted I guess.
So what if we talk a little bit about the negative consequences of being addicted? So sleeplessness can be one of them, addiction in itself is like terrible. So but what can be other negative effects of it? Negative consequences?
Of social networking sites?
Of being addicted. Well of social networks in general, okay, let’s talk about not being addicted, but about social networks in general.
Cause we are not addicted.
No we’re not, no we’re not.
This is… People are maybe unaware of it, but they become jealous of other people’s success, or not just success, but the material possessions of other people. As you scroll down your phone, I mean, on your screen and then you look at – oh, a friend of mine has been to this or that country on his or her holiday which sometimes I feel that, especially in winter.
Yeah, when you are stuck in Siberia.
In Siberia. And I see some friends, oh my god I wish I could go there now. So you see, it creates some kind of sadness because you don’t have what others have at that moment. Or it could be a bit of jealousy as I’ve said because come on, let’s face it.
some people maybe they’re not that happy that others are ahead of them in life, that they possess certain things. Or that they have what, a more beautiful long-lasting marriage. You understand what I mean.
I do. Do you think that that leads to… in turn it leads to lower self esteem as you look at those people who have perfect bodies, who have you know, a better job.
Well, let me disagree maybe.
To some extent. I agree when you were speaking about travelling – yeah, that what can really make me sad. Like everybody is somewhere else and I’m here in the middle of Siberia. That is sad. But when it comes to perfect bodies or perfect marriages or well, I don’t know perfect meals that people eat, I somehow realize that it’s not necessarily true. That is in most cases it’s just fake, or 50% fake.
But then again, you understand that as an adult. But how many teens out there who do not. And come on, very often, well, or sometimes we look at it and this little thought crawls into our mind saying – you don’t have it, you don’t.
Yeah, but we all know.. I’m sorry.
We all know how content is being created, for example when we want to make a good picture we know that we need to put effort into it and so we realize that other people also put some effort and maybe initially it was not so beautiful.
And I just wanna add to what she aid about fake, you know, like photos and videos because with that it also sends a wrong message to people. And if you’re not as discerning as mature wiser people, you would take it as the truth. I mean not everyone has the gift maybe of wisdom.
Exactly. And so they just accept things as they are. Oh for example, If I were overweight, like a teenage overweight, regardless of the gender, okay, and I see wow, sexy bodies, this is something I will never be able to achieve. Something like that. It affects my self-esteem. So that is another negative consequence of going back to your question.
I would also add one negative consequence which I have faced myself which is impostor syndrome. Which is…
You mean being a teacher?
Being a teacher, yes. Because impostor syndrome, you know what that is, when you are underestimating maybe or devaluing your own achievements by thinking that you were lucky. That it was pure luck. And I am experiencing this basically on a daily basis.
Because I follow a lot of teachers on Instagram because, you know, I get inspiration , ideas and that’s all lovely, but then I see some teachers who have, you know, those Delta certificates, all three modules, or they have got this certificate, they have done this,
they take part in conferences, they do this this this this this, and I think oh that’s so cool, they are such great teachers and I’m not. Then of course I try to think like no wait, stop, you have students who have, you know, reached their goal because of you, well, in some way, but you have done this and this. But then again, you know, it lasts shorter time.
It does, it does. Of course you need to be able to self-analyze, to make some reflection on yourself, but if you don’t know how to do that? So this impostor syndrome is just eating you.
Yeah I guess it can be the thing, but for me it is like vice versa. I mean when I follow some teachers whom I admire, on Instagram let’s say, or on vk or somewhere, I am happy to see that what I am doing is fine. What I am doing is alright, because these mature teachers do the same thing, it means that I’m okay.
It works both ways for me, both the, you know, the positive and negative. The positive is that I am inspired like oh, okay, this can be done as well, so I’m gonna borrow your ideas and I’m going to implement them. So on the one hand it gives me inspiration.
On the other hand I also know for a fact, okay, I’m gonna be specific here, in the Philippines there is one particular teacher who is, okay, he is very successful career-wise, but he also has the tendency to show off. That I’ve been to this conference.
And then you know what he does as well. He publishes all his certificates – this is what I did, what I’ve accomplished. And I’m like okay, if you are happy with that, why not, you can share it to the world, but because I know the person and he has the tendency to, again, show off.
So for me it’s like oh come on, I don’t even care about your achievements whatsoever. It’s not because I’m jealous, just to be clear. It’s just that because I know the person.
Sure. And it’s not the certificates which create a great teacher.
So sometimes we an say that social networks, or sometimes social networks can be very toxic in a way. And what is we talk about negative consequence connected with the ethics? So have you notices how especially recently, I think this has happened a lot within the last year, how different bloggers, vloggers, whoever, they do something horrible, borderline violent to get more followers, to get the hype.
Yeah for example like some disgusting challenges. Like on TikTok I guess it was, I’m sorry to say that, but pee your pants challenge.
I have never heard about that.
I know some cases like, I don’t remember the vlogger or where he was from, but he kicked out his girlfriend outside to see how she begs to get inside. So and it was in winter.
That’s even more disgusting.
So it’s violent, like pure violence actually. And then he finally let her in and he was making videos like you know, of her crying, and if I’m not mistaken she even died later on because of the hypothermia.
Well speaking of which, people die doing such stunts, yeah. I know that they do that to have more, what, subscribers if we talk about Youtube or maybe followers on Instagram or whatever social media platform you do that. And personally I feel it’s really pathetic.
If that’s your only way to catch people’s attention.
But then again, fine, you want to do that, like, you know, take a selfie on top of a building crane, fine, you risk your life. But sometimes people risk other people’s lives. So they are putting others in danger just for mere likes or followers or whatnot. Which is, you know, sounds a little bit psychotic maybe, or…
Actually, even today in the morning, I was scrolling through the newsfeed and I saw an article form our local news website that one Novosibirsk blogger, so he had an expensive car, a very expensive car, and he crashed it and filmed it and it was like several million worth car.
Because he didn’t have enough followers. So apparently he had made a bet several months before that, that he would get 20 million or somewhat million followers before the new year and he’s far from that. So he crashed it, he crashed the car, then he put some coal in it and burned it, then somebody took the crane there so he just destroyed it.
And he was filming the whole thing. And then he said to his followers that if I get 20 million followers by the end of January I think it is then I’m going to buy a brand new Lamborghini and crash it and film it.
That’s what we can call addiction, so we are really not addicted after all.
So do you think that something should be done and the content should be strictly regulated, in order for these things not to happen? Especially okay, maybe not with the car, but with putting other people in danger. So can something be done with it on maybe a higher, authoritative level?
Well I think it should be done, I think it should be regulated, but I just maybe don’t know how. But yeah, there should be some restrictions, limits, prohibitions.
Maybe there should be like you know, some punishment for it like on a legal level.
Right. You know what, I’m glad that you brought that up because I think we are somehow creating a conversation for people to be aware and it’s not just the people, ordinary citizens, but our respective governments to do something about this.
Maybe because right now we are not paying enough attention and it’s mostly the social media companies like Youtube or Facebook. They have their own, you know, guidelines that you should follow. But then again, I don’t think they have enough teeth if you know what I mean.
So there has to be legislation involved, and by legislation there has to be legal what, ways and consequences whenever you do something that is extreme and can endanger not just your life, but somebody else’s life.
So I do hope that you now, in the near future there will be concrete rule or laws for each country, and not just internationally. Otherwise this will continue and people will continue to lose their lives for no good reason.
Well, you know, I don’t want to end the podcast on this note, so how about we talk about positive sides of social media. So let the final question that we discuss be a little bit more positive. So what are the positive sides of social media?
Well, staying connected, keeping in touch with people, with friends who live in different cities, maybe in different countries. And sharing your news maybe to the world, or to your closest circle of friends.
In addition, the news travels faster and you are up to date. You know, unlike before, when we relied on traditional media like television.
Newspaper, the radio. The information travelled a little slower, but this time around it’s faster. Nd that’s one of the advantages because you can even see it real time when somebody’s recording something. And then he can immediately share it on his social networking account.
Which again can save lives.
it can even save lives, which is, you know, another advantage.
I would also add getting inspiration for, you know, being more creative, be that your professional life or be that your hobby or something, you can get ideas.
Yeah, right, you always need some examples to follow and yeah, to compare yourself to.
And I have one more thing that I would like to add. I have noticed the greatest side of Instagram which is whenever you need to find something, you need help, you don’t know where something is, where you can buy, I always ask the question on Instagram and I always get replies.
So if I don’t know how to do a certain thing, I do not know where to get something, I know I can depend, I can rely on my Instagram followers, they help all the time. And that’s fantastic.
Alright, oh I’m so happy. So that was the BigAppleSchool podcast. Thank you, Ken. Thank you, Masha. So today we discussed social media and the consequences of it. And we, well, we briefly talked about all different aspects, so we said what social networks we use, which ones we do not use, which ones we do not understand much.
Whether we are addicted to social media, what our screen time is, what are the negative effects of social media and how to eliminate them and what are the positive effects of social media. And a little request to our listeners – so if you have listened till the end, please, post some emoji and tell us what is your favorite social media and how much time you spend on it, because we would like to know more about you.
So thank you for listening and remember, if you struggle to understand our conversation, you are always welcome to our website which is BigAppleSchool.com/podcast. You can find full scripts of each episode of our podcast there. You can read them while listening. Cool, right?
Also if you ant to get more content which will help you learn English, you can follow us on social media such as Instagram, VK, not TikTok, but Youtube, Telegram and so on. Just search our name which is again BigAppleSchool. So that was Katya and my guests for today were…
Ken form the Philippines.
Stay tuned and we’ll see you around!