Social media has taken over our lives. Any second we have that doesn’t require our undivided attention is usually spent scrolling through news-feeds, catching up on the latest life-changing events of all of our high school friends who we don’t keep in touch with, posting pictures of the amazing food we just ate and commenting on our frenemies statuses to share our opinion. And even beyond the constant need for our minds to be stimulated by another world, think about how much time we waste scrolling and liking our lives away. We spend a countless number of minutes on social media. This is what our lives have come to. We don’t just live on earth. We live on cyber-earth. How can we regain control and come back down to earth? How can we learn to use social media soberly? Here are 7 steps to help you recover from social media abuse.
Step 1: Delete ALL social media applications from your phone. This is a MUST. It seems that we can’t live without our phones, but that shouldn’t mean that we can’t live without social media. Believe me, you will see the benefits of freeing some space on your phone and not having to be so attached to all of those apps. If you don’t have a smart phone, you probably live a simpler life than most. The constant access to all of these social media platforms is poison. With these apps deleted from our phones, we can be a bit more focused throughout our days.
Step 2: Do NOT access social media in the morning. A lot of us have a bad habit of getting on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and whatever else we have the first second we wake up. With the social media apps deleted from our phones now, we won’t have to wake up to 12 notifications. If you’re like me, you sleep with your laptop on your bed. Again, this cyber world calls our name. It’s always at our finger tips. But do NOT use the internet right when you wake up. The first minutes of your day should be devoted to spiritually and physically preparing for the day ahead. Start your day off by praying and reading the Word. Spend time with God before you spend time in cyber space.
Step 3: Schedule a specific time to log in to your accounts. The end of the day is preferable. I know each day we are running around like crazy, but scheduling a set time to log on to social media will help you stay focused throughout the rest of your day. Since it’s not very important, leave it for last. Some days you will be too tired to even log on, but that’s okay. Without a scheduled time, there’s no telling how many times you would log on to social media throughout the day and how many minutes you would spend on it. When you’re at the doctor’s office waiting, what are you doing? Scrolling through your news feed. When you’re stuck in traffic, what are you doing? Liking a million selfies on instagram. When you’re getting ready, what are you doing? Taking and sending a million selfies on Snap Chat. If you plan to spend 30 minutes a day on social media, that would be 3 hours and 30 minutes you spend every week. THAT IS SO MUCH TIME; it is more than enough! If you HAVE to log on to social media other than during your allotted time, because of other responsibilities, steer clear of mindlessly scrolling through. Go straight to what you need to look at. Do what you need to do. Read what you need to read. Then, immediately log out.
Step 4: Log out of your social media accounts; it’s imperative. Sometimes when we keep ourselves logged in, because our habits haven’t been broken, we fall back into the act of just typing in “facebook.com” in the search bar and pressing enter. If we are logged out and brought to the log-in screen we can think twice about logging in, rather than falling into another 30 minutes of time not used intentionally.
Step 5: Delete friends you have on social media that you don’t really know, yet you can’t get enough of knowing about their lives. We all have those friends. Their lives seem so intriguing. Well the truth is – their lives are contributing to you wasting your time. There is no reason that we should type in that person’s name every single day to be updated on their lives, especially when we don’t have a personal relationship with them. Delete them. They won’t mind.
Step 6: Think 3 times before posting anything online. 1) I want to share what’s been on my mind/what’s been going on lately! – It’s okay to want to post something awesome that’s happened lately or something that’s been on your mind and you want to hear some opinions. But thinking two more times before pressing “update” can’t hurt. Sometimes our first instincts don’t always lead us down the right path. 2) Who will this effect? Is it wise of me to post this for everyone to see? Am I posting this out of too much emotion? Will this glorify God or dishonor Him? – Everything you post should be encouraging to others. In no way should a picture or statement make others question who you are. Your identity is in Christ! His name should be glorified above all else. 3) Is what I’m posting really me or the perfect-cyber me? Do I just want a million likes? – Don’t seek attention from your cyber-friends. The number of likes you get on a post does not define you. Think 3 times.
Step 7: Use social media to encourage friends! Send a message weekly to someone encouraging them in their ministry or even just to catch up. Remember, we are always on the clock. We must work hard to make Him known and to point others to Him! Social media is a great way to keep in touch with people.
Social media can be good, when used soberly, but it can also be bad when used without any self-control. “Social media is not a big deal,” many may say. I agree; it is not a big deal at all and that’s why it should not have any sort of control over us.
The ultimate way to regain control and to throw out our bad habits is to completely commit our days to the One who deserves our time the most. Each minute counts. Use your time wisely. There’s no harm in catching up with old friends or even posting about the latest season in life the Lord has gotten you through, but we must remain sober so that we can be ever more diligent in working for Jesus.