Thursday, April 5, 2018

Goodbye Social Media

I got my first smart phone when we moved to Arizona in 2011. Russell had a great new job that provided him with a new iPhone, and I felt like I deserved one, too! I headed to the mall and got a brand new iPhone 4. It didn't take long to discover the joys of smart phones, ha ha. Games, pictures and of course, social media. I got the Facebook app, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and Linked In. I found Pinterest, too, and we all know what a black hole of awesomeness Pinterest is, ha ha.

For the last SEVEN years, I've been active on Facebook and Instagram. Sporadic on Twitter, and rarely on Linked In. Snapchat was used pretty much for playing with filters, and an occasional message to a friend or family member. Snapchat's always good for a laugh. And Pinterest sucked me in big time for a while, but then I kind of burned out on it.

In this period of time, my kids went from little kids to teenagers well on their way to adulthood. They've watched me on social media, they've watched their friends on social media, they've BEEN on social media.

Over the last few months there's been a lot of talk about what affect all of this is having on us and our children. Study after study confirms that it's more negative than positive for most of us. Psychologists are dealing with more and more depression, anxiety and suicide attempts than ever before, and they're blaming social media. The issues of comparison, jealousy and the feelings of inadequacy are no joke, and for the last several months I've been trying to figure out how to deal with it all.

The fact is, my generation of parents are the first to have to do this. There simply is no precedent for the all-day access to information (good or bad), the photo editing software that allows us all to "fix" ourselves right in the palm of our hands, the never being "out of reach" from our work or friends, all of it.

And I asked myself "Do I want MY family to be the guinea pigs for this?"
And I finally answered myself 

I'm not sure what the future holds. I would never go so far as to say that I'll never have social media again. I'd love a good way to keep up with family, especially as my kids leave home and start families of their own. Instagram would work, it's just that it's overrun with users, and it's hard to restrict it to family only. Anyway, I do want to figure something out for that, since I have seven kids and they're likely to be spread out all over the place.

I've spent a lot of time trying to convince myself that I'm able to focus on the good things that are found on social media. And that's true, to an extent, but I'm not immune to the feelings of inadequacy that come when I've had a rough "mom day" and I get on Instagram and see beautiful pictures of loving, happy moms laughing with their kids. Rest assured, I know social media. I know how it works, and I know most of those pictures are staged. Please know that this knowledge does NOT make you immune! You still see what you see with your eyes, and those images are powerful!

 If you're feeling that self-doubt, or worse, PLEASE try going without social media for a while. Just give it a chance! I can't explain it, but just making this decision has been freeing to me. I feel a power that I didn't feel before, and I have hope for amazing things to come!

I don't know how often I'll post here, I'm not very reliable, but I have no intention of shutting down my blog. There was a time when I found a lot of joy in posting here, and just maybe I'll find that joy again, now that my time isn't being sucked up watching other people live their lives! 

Can't wait to see how this simple decision changes me, friends!

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