I took a break from the social media world for the last few weeks. I’m sure none of you noticed. I was planning on going for a few months, but it’s almost impossible. I really just wanted to get through the semester without letting it distract me. Being disconnected for these few weeks have really felt like months!
You could honestly call me a social media addict, and I wouldn’t get offended. I’ve come to terms with my addiction. It’s the 100% truth. I’m addicted to my phone. I’m addicted to Facebook. I’m addicted to Instagram. I’m addicted to social media.
I took a quiz on a website from a KSL article about this very topic of being addicted to smartphones.
Out of 15 questions, I got 14 ‘wrong’ and therefore proved I was an addict.
Here is the test if you want to quiz yourself:
1. Do you find yourself spending more time on your Smartphone than you realize?
2. Do you find yourself mindlessly passing time on a regular basis by staring at your Smartphone even when there might be better or more productive things to do?
3. Do you seem to lose track of time when on your Smartphone?
4. Do you find yourself spending more time with Texting, Tweeting, or Emailing as opposed to talking to real-time people?
5. Has the amount of time you spend on your Smartphone been increasing?
6. Do you secretly wish you could be a little less wired or connected to your Smartphone? (this was the only one I got ‘right’)
7. Do you sleep with your Smartphone ON under your pillow or next to your bed regularly?
8. Do you find yourself viewing and answering Texts, Tweets, and Emails at all hours of the day and night—even when it means interrupting other things you are doing?
9. Do you Text, Email, Tweet or Surf while driving or doing other similar activities that require your focused attention and concentration.
10. Do you feel your use of Smartphone actually decreases your productivity at times?
11. Do you feel reluctant to be without your Smartphone, even for a short time?
12. When you leave the house you ALWAYS have your Smartphone with you and you feel ill-at-ease or uncomfortable when you accidentally leave your Smartphone in the car or at home, or you have no service, or it is broken?
13. When you eat meals is your Smartphone always part of the table place setting?
14. When your phone rings, beeps, buzzes do you feel an intense urge to check for texts, tweets or emails, updates, etc.?
15. Do you find yourself mindlessly checking your phone many times a day even when you know there is likely nothing new or important to see?
It’s sad. I don’t want to be controlled by my phone. My phone should be controlled by me. The break I took was actually quite hard for me. (BTW, by ‘break’ I mean I deactivated my Facebook account and logged out of and deleted my Facebook and Instagram and Twitter from my phone, and didn’t check them.) At the beginning, I found myself checking my phone constantly for notifications. I would press the little home button, and all that showed was the time and my wallpaper. Occasionally there was a Walmart-savings-catcher notification…such a tease (btw I’ve saved $9 so far from that app…cash money. It’s a keeper).
Since this is a straight up honesty post, I’m going to just keep on being honest:
I somewhat unconsciously used social media as a form of self-esteem. It wasn’t the only reason, but it was a reason. If I posted something, I was constantly checking to see how many ‘likes’ I got and who liked it. I had a specific number that, if I reached it, meant it was a good post, but if I got lower than that number I felt stupid for posting it.
Like, what?! Since when was it right to let a stupid number tell me how great of a person I am?! Since when was my confidence based on who liked my photo or post? Since I first joined social media, that’s when.
It isn’t right. Not one drop of my self-worth should depend on anyone.
Besides the false self-esteem it gave me, it also wasted my time. It took over my life. Like the questions in the quiz, I checked my phone when there was more productive things I could be doing. I would mindlessly scroll through the posts and pictures over and over again, refreshing multiple times, waiting for something new to be posted.
I didn’t know of any other way to refrain myself other than go cold turkey, but I am trying to be better. I try to only check social media 2 or 3 times a day, rather than 20 or 30 times (that might be an over-exaggeration…who knows, I never really counted…).
I made a list of activities I wanted to fill my life with instead of sitting on my toush scrolling through pictures of Lebron James, baby moccasins, model photo shoots, and the occasional selfie.
Here is my list:
Work (of course)
Go on hikes and walks and appreciate nature
Go to the temple every week
Read (books, newspaper, articles, BoM, PMG, etc.)
Run-4 miles without breaks
Cook-find new healthy & delicious recipes
Do stuff with sibs-make videos, bike rides, shoot hoops
I know I’m not the only one with this problem. In fact, from what I’ve observed there are many people with my same addiction. Some days when I would get on the bus, I would sit down and look around, and almost every single person had head phones in and were glued to their phones. I mean, what is this world coming to?! Why don't we pull those head phones out and talk to the person sitting next to us? Why not look out the window at the breath-taking mountains? Why not give yourself some freedom and silence? Why not unplug?
For the few weeks that I did unplug, it was amazing. I had more time. I was less stressed. I felt less lazy and groggy. I plan on keeping it up except for those necessary moments when I have to Facebook stalk someone or post a stellar picture…you know how it is.
Life is happening all around us, and if we’d just take our eyes off our hi-resolution screens and make a resolution to take control, rather than give all the control to our phones, we’d realize how much this wonderful world has to offer.
I’ve made a new year’s resolution to unplug, and I plan on making it happen.