Many of us are connected to technology and its magical pull into the endless hallways of social media. It’s not unusual to hear people say they went to check something only to find themselves hours later still scrolling through their feed. Although there is a love/hate relationship with social media, there have been very few studies done on the actual effects social media has on us.
One area of social media that terrifies me is the use among teenagers. Being a teenager today is very different than it was 20 years ago. Teenagers used to exploit their freedom by staying out past curfew or running around the local mall with a group of friends. Today, their freedom is at arm’s length wrapped in social media. Whether it is posting photos, taking polls or snap chatting, social to them means online. Yet when they do get together, you find a room full of kids with their phones in hand.
I consider myself a passive Facebook user. I click like on pictures, I post pictures of my family but I will rarely post my opinion on anything. Despite considering myself a passive user, I find myself constantly checking Facebook for alerts on pictures I have posted or a new item posted in one of the pages that I follow. As silly as I feel saying this, if I don’t check the feed I feel anxiety of what I might have missed. I thought this might be a good time to step away and reassess my Facebook use.
5 Day Detox Off of Facebook
To start I have made a few adjustments to my phone:
- Turned off all notifications on Facebook
- Turned entire phone to grey scale
- Increase practice of Mindfulness techniques to occupy my mind
Reasons for detox:
- Spending too much time on Facebook
- Takes focus off of more important things in my life
- Why am I so concerned about what’s on Facebook?
As soon as I woke up I immediately wanted to check Facebook. It has become such a habit when I turn off the alarm to check that I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I felt a feeling of frustration when I stopped myself. Have I really become this obsessed with Facebook or is it simply a routine that I follow? I directed myself to checking the weather and work emails before taking some deep breaths and stretching for the day. Once I got up and ready, I was waiting for the dog to finish his breakfast before taking a walk and without thinking went to click on Facebook. (This is ridiculous) I put my phone in my bag to make sure I didn’t touch it again before leaving for work. Throughout the day, I had to consciously remind myself not to try to look at Facebook. Every time I got an alert, my first reaction was to check to see if something new had come up. Even though I knew I had turned off all notifications on Facebook.
This hasn’t gotten any easier and I am embarrassed at how many times I have found myself wanting to check Facebook. Not even aware I am doing it until I reach my social media folder on my phone. (Yes, I have a folder) I am still feeling frustrated and a little bit anxious that I have forbidden myself from checking. What do I really think I am missing?
A very busy day today between work, shuttling to practices and laundry that I have had less of a chance to want to check in on Facebook. But once things settled down and I was in bed, I wanted so badly to get on Facebook. Instead of reading or actually going to sleep, I found myself in the rabbit hole of Pinterest. Another of my love-hate apps that I will fall into for hours. Looking up things I never have any intention of actually doing. Starting to think I need to have a full phone detox!
This feels like a full-on withdrawal of an addiction. I was standing in line for my lunch at work, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just kept looking around my apps on my phone aimlessly while I waited. I couldn’t just stand there with my thoughts, I had to do something with my hands. It’s bizarre how I feel almost awkward without something to do with my hands as if I look out of place not on my phone to others. I started to look around and everyone waiting in line was on their phones. No one was talking to one another or smiling at people passing by. They were all nose to phone with the glare of their screens on their complexion.
Ok I did it! Just get through today and I did it! But why am I so excited to finish and get back on Facebook. This doesn’t feel like a success but rather a realization that this is a problem. It will be interesting to see how I feel once I do login and turn back on my notifications. Will I have missed anything?
What did I learn from my 5-day detox from Facebook? I learned that I don’t really need it. I learned that I am much more attached to the need to be on Facebook that I should be. Did I miss anything? Not really. I enjoy seeing my friends’ kids, pets and adventures it isn’t something that I need to be constantly checking throughout the day. I also realized that even though we are all tied to our phones every day, we all are itching for more real time interaction with each other. When I reached out to someone directly, they loved it. It led to let’s get together and feelings of happiness. We need to all reach out to each other and check in. Disconnect, its good for the soul.