The other day as I was catching up on my Instagram feed I came across Jamie Ivey’s insta about a social media fast. Hold on, what?! Super interested I went straight to her blog and was nodding along in agreement every step of the way. Her and her hubs are on a social media fast for the summer and I couldn’t agree with a better time for something like that. Well, ok in theory. My oldest will start kinder in the fall and it is so fresh on my mind that my time with him during the week goes from 24/7 down to 3ish hours a day before bedtime. This is my time to enjoy every day with him, even the grumpy ones without looking down at a screen all summer. There is also a part of me that’s like “wait, how is everyone going to know what we did today?!” or “how are my family members going to keep updated with the boys all summer?”. Oh my goodness, the thoughts that ran through my head about going on a social media fast were embarrassing.
Know this, I am not saying that social media is a bad thing. I love how it keeps my family connected to my boy’s lives and has connected me with friends from the past that I would have never reconnected with in person due to distance or just life itself. From a student ministry standpoint, social media is essential. What I am agreeing with is that it’s about time we evaluate what kind of role it plays in our lives and if we are stuck with our head down more than we are looking forward. Most of the time we choose to focus on a social media world that keeps us looking at other people’s business for a good 15-20 minutes rather than enjoying the life right in front of us. We forget how to relax and be in the moment because its much easier to pick up our phone when things get weird or silent for too long.
I’m even more ashamed to say that the only way I know about most of my friends getting engaged, getting married, having babies, or that there is something tough going on in their lives is because its on Facebook. Ouch. Facebook has fooled us into thinking we are a part of this real-life community because we are learning about the screen worthy parts of our friend’s lives. We stop walking through the daily parts of life with friends and just read about their updates on a screen instead because sometimes that feels much easier. Real life is messy and screen time takes very little effort.
As a mom of two crazy (love them..yes I do) little guys I use social media as my way to check out and have brainless time. It makes me feel connected to a world that exists outside of my stay at home mom house life. It tunes me out and my boys notice every second that I’m staring down at my phone screen instead of watching them play together or giving them eye contact. I read a blog today from Momastery that was powerful, and so on point. Get ready.
“My head is down. My head is down for much of the day. I am missing all of the miracles and beauty of the life right in front of me and around me and under me and above me and within me because my eyes are on a six inch screen that has nothing to do with me.
I’m afraid that one day when my children think of their mama- the picture in their mind’s eye will be me with my head down- saying “one second, honey.” I’m afraid that when I try to help my kids navigate the world of social media for themselves- when I try to convince them that the internet is not the Real World- I won’t have a leg to stand on. Because they will do what I do and not what I say.”- See more at: http://momastery.com/blog/2014/05/07/step-one
My oldest already notices how he smiles and says hello to others and both grown adults and kids alike have no idea how to respond to such engaging behavior. His eye contact and smiles make others uncomfortable, and he notices that. I notice it too. So do I join them in teaching him that the extent of his connection with others will be from a screen? Maybe I manage my time better, let something wait until after bedtime, and let him know that he deserves my attention even if its something that does not interest me. He knows when I’m watching and when Im reading on my phone. He watches how I prioritize.
Theres a balance, and I really get it. I am just so excited that someone was brave enough to say it out loud in the blogging world and maybe that just challenges us to take some time to reevaluate how much of our day we allow social media to consume.
I just signed myself up for a 2 month in(courage) small group that takes place on Facebook. Its a fun little group that will help me learn more about the nuts and bolts about blogging and connect me to other ladies who are interested in doing the same. How exciting! So as much as a complete social media fast would be amazing, I’m instead going to reevaluate how much of my time I want to devote to social media. I love blogging and clearly as I’m developing my writing and learning more about the blog world I can’t disappear from social media. Maybe I’ll stop spending my extra time in the car looking at my screen and having a real-life conversation with my hubs in the driver’s seat. Maybe I won’t be so quick to post a status or scroll down some updates “real quick” and find that I just got back 20 minutes of my day that could be spent pouring into someone else around me. Maybe I’ll find out that I have more time to invest in real people around me than using up that time on a Facebook screen.
So, does this make you squirm a little bit? It does me.
How can you take steps towards replacing some screen time with real life relationships?
For me, Ive installed Facebook messenger on my phone so that I can still communicate directly with friends without having the temptation of “scrolling” through their Facebook status on my phone and watching 15 minutes disappear. I’ve also decided to be much more intentional about pursuing real-life time with friends rather than letting status updates be a substitute for how much I am investing in someones life. I’m far from perfect about this, but I can’t wait to see how these little changes might add some time back into my day and give the people around me the attention they deserve. Its going to take some time to even adjust to these little changes, but I have no doubt it will be more than worth it!
So, what do you think? Is this something that you struggle with?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and even some of your goals for eliminating some screen time this week!
Leave your comments below and lets learn from each other!