We’ve made it past the pink and red explosion of romance that is Valentine’s Day, but it’s possible that the topic of relationships is still fresh in our minds this February.
Regardless of your “taken” or “single” status, I’m drawing our focus to a relationship that most of us interact with daily . . . our relationship with social media.
Before you bail, I promise this isn’t a doom and gloom post about how social media is awful and you should kick it to the curb then move to a farm in the middle of nowhere.
Let’s simply take an honest look at our social media habits together.
“It’s Time We Take a Break”
Jesus says in John 10:10, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Let’s keep these words in mind as our basis for considering how our lives intersect with social media.
If we don’t have a healthy, biblical mindset when we move our thumbs to scroll through Instagram and Twitter, it can rob us of the joy and abundant life that is found in Jesus Christ.
Friends, I see teen girls being robbed of this joy and abundant life every single day because social media has them locked into its addictive and joy-sucking grip.
How can you know if your joy is being stolen, too? Think about your answers to these ten questions, and consider if it might be time for you and social media to take a break.
What’s Your Relationship with Social Media Like?
- Do you feel worse or tired after you check social media?
- Have you lost a friendship or gotten into a significant fight over something that happened on social media?
- Are you anxious to see how many likes your photos get? And to know if the right people liked those photos?
- Do you feel intense pressure to maintain your Snapchat streaks?
- Have you ever been grounded from your social media . . . only to borrow a friend’s phone or sneak back onto your own phone?
- Do you attend events and spend the time taking pictures for social media and totally miss living in the moment with the people around you?
- Has anyone mentioned that you might be spending too much time staring at your phone?
- Do you spend a significant amount of time taking and editing photos and/or planning your captions with the hopes of gaining more likes or comments?
- If you forget your phone, do you experience anxiety or a sense of isolation?
- Do you spend more than an hour per day on social media? (The Screentime information on iPhones can be a great tool to help you know just how much time you’re spending on social media apps!)
Did any of these diagnostic questions hit close to home? Might it be time to break off your relationship with social media for a little while? If so, commit to a certain length of time for a social media fast, and make it happen. (You may be shocked by how refreshing this is!)
A Relationship That Takes, Takes, Takes?
If you’re still not quite convinced, I wonder if this little scenario sounds all too familiar . . .
Emma was attempting to complete her homework.
Buzz! It was an Insta notification. She checked it . . . watched a few Insta Stories . . . and then switched gears back to her work.
Buzz! Snapchat notification. Again, she checked it, snapped a reply, then got back to work.
Buzz! It’s Twitter this time. Seventeen likes on that super clever tweet she posted this morning! Yes! Scroll, scroll, scroll . . .
After ten minutes, she completely forgot that this was supposed to be homework time instead of scrolling time.
I am never going to be able to get this done, she thought to herself. She decided to leave her phone on the kitchen counter downstairs so she could finally finish those assignments.
Later that night at bedtime, Emma started scrolling through her phone. Before she knew it, it was past 1 a.m., and she finally went to sleep. The next day she was groggy and irritable.
Do you relate a little too much with Emma’s evening?
According to different research, teenagers spend between seven-and-a-half to nine hours each day staring at a screen. (That’s no small number!)
I’m not anti-screen or anti-technology, but I desire for you and me to have healthy relationships with our screens and social media.
If you’re feeling like a social media fast is in order, good for you! Take that time to soak in God’s Word, enjoy moments with family and friends, be creative, and pursue good things.
But because social media is a tool that can absolutely be used in positive ways, the answer may not be to cut it out of our lives completely. So, how can we maintain a positive relationship with social media?
Five Ideas for Cultivating a Healthy Relationship with Social Media
- Silence those push notifications.
You don’t have to know the exact second someone likes your Instagram picture or sends you a snap. The constant updating keeps us so distracted and unable to really enjoy or focus on what is happening in the moment.
- Unfollow (or just silence) those accounts that make you envious or weary.
All those fashion accounts? Those dream house photos? Don’t allow them to build envy in your heart. If you follow someone and have thought, I want her life, or If I looked like her, I’d be happy, it might be best to unfollow them. That might be difficult to do if they’re a close friend, so, maybe it’s time to take your envious heart to God and ask Him to make you content in Him.
- Limit screen time to one hour per day.
According to the latest research, spending more than one hour a day on social media begins to negatively affect mental health.
- Don’t sleep with your phone in your room.
Having your phone in your room invites distraction and could also cause sleep deprivation, which worsens anxiety, depression, and makes you more irritable and less able to focus.
- Enjoy the life that’s happening all around you!
When it comes to real-life events, don’t spend them trying to get the perfect picture to share or recording video of everything. Take a few pictures, and then enjoy the rest of the time with your loved ones.
- Is it time for you to cut some ties with social media? Do you have a plan to make this happen?
- How can you make some changes to have a healthier relationship with your phone?