Admit it. Facebook is addictive. All social media are. They’ve been designed to trap your attention and keep you hooked as long as possible. Average daily time spent on social media is estimated to 116 minutes – that’s nearly 2 hours! However no one realizes it’s that bad because no one is counting it…
2 main issues with time spent on social media:
- It’s a time-waster.
Once you open the app and start scrolling, you easily lose track of time and you also forget what you wanted to do or “just quickly check” – what was your primary intention.
- It’s a big distraction.
The worst thing you can do is to leave the notifications turned on. You’re losing focus on what you’re doing, because of notification displayed on your screen and news count on the app icon.
I said: Enough.
Before the summer, I decided to wean myself off social media. I didn’t close my account. I didn’t even delete the app from my phone. I simply moved it to the last page of apps and turned off the notifications, so I wouldn’t be distracted by them. Believe me or not, it was that simple. I didn’t need to do anything more. The good, old saying: “Out of sight, out of mind” worked like a magic wand. I was busy (as we usually all are) with other things in life and completely forgot to check what’s up on FB.
Social media abstinence is a great time saver. You really get much more of it than you give up. Here’s what I gained:
1. I felt my own freedom more and I enjoyed it.
I stopped having that annoying feeling that I’ve spent ages scrolling the news feed and didn’t get anything useful done. My mind wasn’t trapped in a virtual world anymore, it was free again.
Remember: You cannot choose what you see in your news feed. The algorithm choses it for you.
Yes, it does take into consideration pages you’ve visited and posts you’ve clicked on before. But it’s not the number 1 criterion. The main purpose is to keep you on for longer and show you ads they earn money from (marked “sponsored”).
2. I got a chance to spend more focused, uninterrupted time with my children.
By not wasting my time with a phone in my hand, I had more time for everything else. Often, when I was with my kids and keeping up with the house works, it was impossible to reach me by phone (forget about emails and instant messages altogether).
By the end of the week, I had 100s of unread emails and tons of missed calls. But guess what? The world didn’t end. My closest relatives just rang my husband if they had anything urgent to say or if they wanted to check if we’re alive 🙂 Everything else had to wait. My family came first.
3. I got to learn news from people face to face and it felt great.
A little downside of not reading FB news feed 5 times a day was that I missed lots of news from my friends. But do you still remember what it feels like, when you hear the big news face to face?
It goes: “Oh really??? Congratulation!!! I’m so happy for you!” and the big hug follows.
4. I didn’t block messenger. So I still kept in touch with my “pen pals” but there were definitely less of them than 250 FB friends.
I did check my messenger from time to time. I chat with people real time instead of just passively reading their FB posts, writing comments and waiting hours for replies.
5. I didn’t get to watch or read any hoax which was actually good for my sanity.
Social media are full of (often false or misleading) information that has very clear intention:
- to trigger your emotions (mostly fear); AND
- to manipulate your opinions and decisions (e.g. how you vote, what you buy, where you click online etc.).
6. I wished happy birthday to people in person or by a phone call.
Do you also get this mixed feeling when you receive BD wish from someone who hasn’t talked with you in years, just because they got a notif from FB it was your BD? Here, I have my personal rule. I do not sent BD wish unless I actually wish to reconnect with that person for real.
So if you think you cannot cut off your FB addiction ‘cos you’re afraid you gonna miss someone’s BD, take your time to put down BDs of all the important people you know in your calendar. And trust me: If someone loves you, they will forgive you that you’ve missed their BD and will be ready to lift a glass and celebrate next time you meet, no matter what day of the year it is.
7. New technologies are here to make our life easier and more enjoyable.
There was something special about the times when mobile phones did not exist and people could only find out about each other by talking face to face. Despite that, I acknowledge all advantages new technologies bring to us and there are really so many of them.
The challenge is to make sure that internet and all the new technologies serve us and not hold us as their slaves. It’s up to me and up to you how much freedom we will retain in this world. We’re lucky that it is only up to us. No one else is responsible for our lives.
Photo in this article is from Pixabay.com