Id seen it before, I’d laughed at it before, I’d even sent it before, yet, there was this dying urge inside of me to see it, to laugh at it, to send it once more. It had occurred to me that maybe I was addicted, maybe I couldn’t get enough, maybe I couldn’t stop. Despite this, I continued, hour after hour, failing to remove myself from the unholy grave known as YouTube. YouTube was supposed to be my escape, my freedom, an uncertified ritual. It seemed to remove me from the fears, the nerves, and the piling homework on my desk. YouTube was the unofficial language of fun and culture, consuming me with words, dance moves, comic sketches, literally everything. Throughout school, it seemed like everyone was addicted. People would talk about the latest video they saw, the YouTuber with the most subscribers, or the clip of a celebrity who lip synced. It seemed almost cruel to have not watched those videos, especially when you had nothing to contribute to the conversation. It became the reason kids got an hour less of sleep, the reason their mind could not fully grasp the new concepts at school, the reason their eyes looked like two big shopping bags every morning. YouTube was the accepted drug. Knowing that every other kid was doing it made it somehow acceptable for me to do it. It became alright for me to procrastinate till the very last day, alright for me to keep clicking on recommendations, but, most importantly, it allowed us to fit in. The thought of not fitting in was a whole new universe that I did not want to think about. I’d never been there, never experienced it. I decided to deny that fact. No, that’s not the reason I watched YouTube. But, as my addiction grew, I realized a lot of the videos I watched were about pop music, or celebrity gossip, and none of them truly interested me. I watched gossip channels, because students in class would talk about it. Maybe I wanted to be a part of the conversation and seem cool. Maybe I wanted people to think I was hip. Maybe I wanted people to believe that I was some sort of multi-tasking-superhero, who had time to not only excel at school but, also be up to date with every single new trend. Maybe, it was just peer pressure. Come to think of it, like most drugs, peer pressure was the cause. Peer pressure was the reason most kids, teenagers, or even adults started obsessive behaviors. YouTube was just like that. Remarkably, it was then, I started thinking like a rebel. What if I didn’t accept the rules of the social norm? What if I decided to do my own thing? Watch my own videos, items that interested me? Follow my own path of social freedom? Fast Forward a Few Months Later…. With the constant reminders from mom, I finally quit my YouTube addiction. Free from the so called “ paradise,” I began to go to school unaware of latest gossip, dance moves, and trends. Believe me, it was hard at first. With the excess time on my hands, I was bored. I would often wonder about what people at school were watching, if I was missing anything. But months later, I realized that nobody really cared. Whether or not I knew the celebrity gossip didn’t matter to anybody. It didn’t matter, anymore. Actually, it had never mattered. Students at school continued to talk, continued to discuss about the videos they had discovered, continued to diss youtube stars. But, I was free. From the trouble, the anxiety of the YouTube addiction. Eesha Ramkumar is a freshman at Monta Vista High School. She enjoys writing and classical dancing, often getting caught reading books or watching dance videos!
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