Social media plays a vital role in today’s generation, especially for me who am living separately from my family. Messenger has been our way of communication wherever we are and whatever we do. It is what keeping us updated as to the whereabouts of each member of the household down to the very details, like what we are currently eating or what are our current concerns.
However, spending too much time in social media is not healthy in any way. Studies show that social media is one of the many factors why teenagers nowadays suffer from depression, basically by comparing themselves with the happy and perfect lives being presented by the people to whom they are connected with.
I, for a fact, am guilty of this. Not suffering from depression or the like but by spending too much of my time into it, which greatly affects my behavior and the way I handle the things that should be regarded as more important.
With that, it is essential for me to take some hiatus from time to time in order for me to break the habit this social media has caused.
I’ve actually identified three red flags, which serve as signals that I need to temporarily leave this wide world full of web.
If I’m sharing too much information. If my online friends already know the pattern as to the time I am waking up and the time I am going to bed, what I ate, who were with me, where I have been, what I’ve been doing for the past weeks, and every single thing that’s happening with me, including my thoughts and plans, my discoveries and learning, my rants and simple joys– then this is definitely a red flag. I need to remind myself that people who are connected with me online are not interested on how I live my day-to-day life. I need to instill in my mind that leaving something to myself brings a sense of privacy that I, alone, can enjoy and cherish intimately. The road from self-discovery to self-absorption is a gradual one, with potholes of conceit, each without a bottom.
If I’m talking more online than in person. If I’m in a dining table with my office mates yet I’m conversing with my friends in the net, if I’m with my family yet I’m enjoying more on browsing my IG feeds on the side, if I’m on a trip or get together with people whom I rarely meet yet my attention is on the notifications of my Facebook– then another huge red flag is waving in front of me. I need to remind myself to appreciate the people who are with me physically by respecting the time and the effort they are spending with me. A healthy and meaningful conversation is always made up of two or more people who are attentive to each other’s words and sensitive to each other’s feelings.
If I’m spending too much time online that affects my priorities. If I’m being unproductive during weekends, if it takes hours for me to get up because I’m busy with my phone, if my reading and prayer time are being neglected because I’m too engrossed with what’s happening on my feeds– then this is the limit. The red flag is as if endlessly slapping me on my face until such time I log out in all the apps and sites that take my attention. “Too much,” as we always say, is destructive. Time and resources, as entrusted to me, should be managed effectively.
Truth is, I just came back today from a one week social media hiatus. It’s tempting to turn on the wifi or mobile data from the moment I open my eyes in the morning until I am laying reversely at night, with feet resting up high on the bed frame while watching my cutie socks. My usual day would start and end with social media. I just wish that as I came back today, I would be wiser and more responsible in this area.
Nevertheless, one can maximize the connection by using social media as a tool to encourage and edify people. Let your circle of influence know that you are visible and available anytime of the day for a conversation, a counselling, or even as someone who can just listen. Know when it is urgent and know when it is better to schedule a talk. Make the best use of this kind of resource because just by being online, you can actually save someone– or a couple, or even a family. That’s making a difference and an impact, one person at a time. 🙂