Almost every year for Lent, I give up social media up until Easter Sunday. Every year, I miss it then I don’t, and every year after Easter I go back to gradually using social media again until I feel addicted to it. It’s an endless cycle, but one that I try to break. This year, I made a decision that I wanted to stay off of Instagram as much as possible. I’d keep my profile but only get on it if I wanted to post something.
The reason for this was because I felt that I was starting to view my own life as not good enough. People post the best version of themselves on there. I didn’t want to start to view myself as not pretty enough, smart enough, or ambitious enough. It messes with humility.
I recently watched a documentary named Screened Out, which premiers on May 26th. It dives into how technology how evolved and how addicted we are to our screens. They interviewed a 13 year old girl addicted to Instagram. She suffers from depression and has attempted suicide. All because she wanted the life others had.
It made me think about my own use of social media and my smartphone so I decided to limit my use. I also don’t want to discipline myself now because if I ever have kids I want them to have a healthy relationship with technology.
- Limited use of Instagram and Twitter. I programmed my phone to lock me out of both sites after I’ve used them for one hour (30 minutes each) a day.
- Between the hours of 6pm and 7pm my entire phone locks. I can’t use anything so I have time to use that hour to practice calligraphy, read and/or pray my evening prayers.
- This I’ve done for years, but I believe it counts. I have all my notifications turned off on my phone. In cases of emergency, people usually call. My text messages prompt me of a new message but it doesn’t ring or vibrate. Everything else is silent; social media, WhatsApp group chats, emails, etc.
I truly love technology but I believe the majority of the world doesn’t know that applications are designed to be addictive. The president of Facebook, Sean Parker, has openly admitted this. They want and need you to be addicted to social media because our screen time translates to more ad views, making ads more valuable. These sites aren’t actually free. They make money from ads and they need us to constantly be online to view these ads.
In conclusion: I wasn’t born with a phone in my hand, so I won’t die without it.
Anyway, this is my goal which truly has no real end. Just the achievement of discipline. Wish me luck.