“It’s just Facebook!” We all like to say that, but is it really? I read a story this morning about how a mother did not realize she was addicted to social media until her small daughter expressed that she felt like her Mommy liked the computer more than she liked her. It made me think of a similar experience I had with my own daughter. One day I was in my phone reading; I do not remember what it was but I do remember that my daughter kept asking me questions. I was so into what I was reading that I was not paying her any attention. I can remember nodding and saying okay a few times. Then she burst out and said, “Mommy you don’t pay me any attention anymore. You’re always in your phone!” I looked at her and she looked like she was about to cry. I realized her feelings were hurt. I put down my phone, hugged her and told her that I was sorry and I will do better.
Now, this wasn’t something I was hearing for the first time. I have been told by countless people that I’m always in my phone and don’t pay attention. Every single guy that I have ever dated has complained about me not paying them any attention because I’m always in my phone. My aunt, before she passed away, would always tell me put away my phone. When my father is riding in my car, he points out that whatever it is I’m looking at in my phone when I stop at a red light can wait. None of that phased me though. It’s my phone and I pay the bill so I can be on my phone all day and night if I pleased. Until it came out of my daughter’s mouth. When she said it, I finally heard it. I was addicted to my phone. Whether I was browsing Facebook, Instagram, or reading the mag articles that are sent to my email daily, I was in my phone constantly. I was online more than I was present with my baby. Sometimes I would plan to just get online and browse for a minute to see what’s going on. A minute would turn into 30 minutes and then an hour. Next thing I know hours would have gone past and I still needed to cook dinner, clean, or check homework.
I am sharing this to bring light to the fact that we don’t realize that the little bit of time we think we are spending on social media adds up to hours. Sometimes as many hours as we spend at work! If you don’t know if you are addicted, ask yourself how often you get on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. Do you find yourself at a red light pulling out your phone “just to see what’s going on”? Do you find yourself falling behind at work or school because a few minutes of browsing turned into hours of commenting, liking, and sharing posts? Do you find that you are on social media from the time your child comes home from school up until he or she is gone to bed? If so, I hope you can admit it and begin taking the necessary steps to fight this addiction. It’s just as bad as being addicted to drugs, alcohol, or sex. Addictions of any kind are unhealthy.
I am not saying that social media is a bad thing. I’m not saying that at all. It’s a great way to stay connected to the people you care about who live far away. It’s a great way to network and market your business. It’s a great way to evangelize to this lost world. What I am saying, though, is that social media addiction is real and our children are affected more than we realize.
I cannot pretend that I am completely over my addiction. It’s definitely a process as I am always tempted to get on my phone. I try to use social media now to do what I’m called to do, spread the Word of God and bring others to the feet of Christ. And I’ve been including my daughter in that. When I write, I let her proofread and give me her opinion. She is waiting at this very moment for me to finish this article so that she can read it before I publish it lol. She is almost 10 years old and time is flying. One day I will look back and wish I spent every single second with her hugging and loving on her. This is what makes me deactivate my accounts to take a break when I find myself online constantly. This is what makes me delete the apps from my phone. This is what makes me leave my phone upstairs when we are eating or watching a movie together. I never want her to believe that she comes second to social media.
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© Kendra Fowler and 'LoveMizzK', 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kendra Fowler and 'LoveMizzK' with appropriate and specific direction to the original content