We've talked before on CIF about New Year's Resolutions and how implementing a technology detox was a goal for this year. Now we want to talk about the reasons why it's important to cut back on social media use, plus some helpful tips on how to actually do it!
Most of us like to believe that we are great at multitasking. We can parent, respond to a work email, watch some tv, and catch on our news feeds all at the same time and, oh have dinner coking on the stove as well! But the hard truth is that successful multitasking is a myth. Multitasking is just switching between tasks rapidly, and it actually it increases stress and affects the quality of the tasks that we do finish. And I don't know about you, but I certainly don't want the quality of my parenting to be anything less than my absolute best. So now that the reality check has settled in, it's time to look more into how I can improve as a parent and how much social media is actually hindering our lives.
After reading this eye opening article on Parenting.com, I have come to the sad realization that I spend way too much time caring about what others think. I, like many others, am obsessed with capturing that perfect image. Whether it's capturing my kids in a perfectly adorable shot, or that precisely-placed meal I just prepped, I would stand there snapping away and adjusting the shot until I got it to that "post worthy" image. And, of course, it's only natural to tailor your news feed so that all of your friends and family can see all of the lovely, brag-worthy, highlights of your life. But, when we communicate with each other this way, it creates a misconception that everyone's lives are better than our own; picture perfect, and flawless. I know, saying it out loud makes that idea sounds crazy, but if you don't take a step back to check in with your thoughts, it's very easy to caught up in comparison trap & forget reality.
The comparison trap I'm talking about might look something like this: you cook a nice meal (in a time crunch) for your family, but when you check your news feed, you see a beautiful & elaborate dish that some other mother made for her family. You might then make comparisons and start to feel like you aren't good enough...but the truth is that gorgeous meal probably has a kitchen full of mess to go with it! I'm here to tell you that social media isn't real life, and it isn't the full picture. Nobody is perfect, everyone struggles, has flaws, and bad days but no one posts about any of that. And why would you? It's nice to showcase your good days & your beautiful children, but lately it seems like we all do it just a little too often.
Speaking of children, it's also important that we consider how our social media habits might impact them. Did you know that 32% of parents have deleted a previous social media post about their child in realization that it was oversharing? Detoxing from technology and social media to create real memories with our loved ones can teach us to live in the moment, and to have improved perspective into our own lives. I want to enjoy every second I have with my children, and I am careful now to avoid constantly interrupting those family moments to snap a shot.
So, what are we to do about all this social media business? Here are a few tips to help you detox & gain control over your social media experience:
- Turn off notification alerts. These alerts bring attention away from whatever is going on in that moment and draws your attention to your phone. It's only natural to then pick up your phone and investigate, so by turning these notifications off you will now only notice any unread comments or messages when you choose to.
- Create time for social media. This may seem like an contradiction to everything I've been talking about in this post, but creating scheduled time for social media throughout the day means that you can 100% commit the rest of your time to your family, work, and yourself without constant media distractions. Remember: multitasking is just a myth.
- Use a printed cookbook or print out a recipe you found online, then log off. If you look it up on your phone, you may be tempted to take a few seconds to check Facebook or Instagram...and then spend far more time than you really wanted to.
- Limit your posts. If you are a posting fanatic, commit to a new goal of only allowing yourself to post once per day, or maybe even once a week. This way you have to really take the time to reflect on the favorite part of your day or the highlight of the week.
- Ask your kids if they are okay with you posting something involving them before you post. This will create an open and honest conversation about what they are comfortable with others knowing, and allows them to create their own boundaries of what they feel is acceptable.
Have any hot tips of your own? Please share them with us!