At twelve years old, I created a Myspace account and unknowingly started a personal trend for spending long hours in front of the computer. I don’t know if I can blame the ability to make zits go away with editing software, or that I had a certain confidence about being behind a screen but I didn’t mind spending the entirety of my day on the computer. As I entered High School and Myspace faded into the past, I continued the same habits. While my peers would only spend a small amount of time on Social Network, I had a computer in my room and would continuously post status after status, just as the norm would be today. Back then, Facebook listed status’ in the order of posting and most people logged on just to talk to their friends. So, when people would log on and the first thing they would see is Elora King and ten status’ stacked one after the other, they would give me a hard time for it and eventually delete me. Thanks to Facebook’s ‘On This Day’ feature, I don’t blame them!
These days, Facebook can be accessed with ease directly on a smart phone, and with its changes to break apart people’s posts or track the things you like to shuffle stories, it isn’t uncommon for people to post several times a day or scroll aimlessly and see new stuff every time. Not only has it become normal and accepted to scroll through a news feed over and over, but we share almost everything on Social Media. We don’t just see what is going on in everyone’s personal life but we are also in constant view of others’ political views, something that used to be considered RUDE to talk about in public.
Since I had my son, I spend a lot of time at home. I found myself sitting on my couch, phone in hand trying to capture a moment of Kadyn to post on Social Media, or scrolling while he was napping, or at random times without even consciously meaning to. A ridiculous way to pass the time escalated to a real honest-to-goodness addiction. I would try to move the app to the third page on my phone so I wasn’t just unlocking and tapping on it then I tried deleting it all together; only using Safari, which didn’t prevent the scrolling either. My pride, paired with subconsciously not wanting to change, left me without consideration of extreme measures. It finally took some self examination. I am in my early twenties! What am I going to think when I am 45 years-old? Am I going to reminisce on all the things I scrolled past on Facebook? Maybe, but I won’t be happy about it! Is this what my young adulthood is going to consist of? Well, this did not sit well with me, so I decided to swallow my pride and do something drastic…
I had my MOTHER change my Facebook password and share it only with my husband.
How pathetic? I can relate my Facebook scrolling to a drug or alcohol addict going to rehab! Admitting it was a real problem in the first place, attempting to fix it myself, and then when that failed, getting help. Before, the problem was how frequently I posted, I don’t think that problem continued, it was the aimless scrolling and reading when there were so many other things I could be doing, beneficial things, things that can make me a better person. The solution wasn’t deleting my account all together, it was taking away my immediate access and ease to getting on Facebook to zero notifications, yet still scrolling, and scrolling, and scrolling…
Though my addiction never nor would ever escalate to neglecting my son, I found that sometimes I’d be waiting to capture something to share. I deleted my Snapchat account just a couple weeks before I had my Mom change my Facebook password. This was an attempt to live in the moment. Something I do believe we should all do more. Instagram is easier to control what I see and with the story feature, I can share real time Kadyn shenanigans if I want to but don’t feel the need to sit and scroll continuously.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up? Do you automatically application jump from one social media app to another? I know I did. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Before getting out of bed! Think about it for a second. When I finger danced through all the social media apps, I found myself annoyed at Political posts, angry at Christian bashing, and even when I watched my friends having fun the night before on Snapchat, I was consumed with jealousy. So, before even getting out of bed I was annoyed, outraged, and jealous! Not the right side of the bed, if you ask me. Even if I didn’t feel the affects of it directly, I can’t help but theorize on the subconscious affects that social media jumping had on me before I even had my morning coffee.
After an entire month of having limited access to Facebook by not having the app on my phone and not knowing my password, I can admit wholeheartedly that my desire to scroll through posts is gone. I only access it on my iPad while at home (after my husband logs me in). Thanks to the ‘See First’ feature, I check notifications, only scroll until I see the end of the posts with stars next to them, post if I want, and then log off. Just like the old days! I am seeing the benefits of it in more ways than one. By having old fashioned ‘good manners’ and keeping controversial topics to myself or only using Social Media for specific purposes (not trolling for a purpose by reading people’s comments). I have been able to develop opinions based on my beliefs, experiences, and viewpoint and not others’ while unknowingly getting them mixed up. I am not in constant view of propaganda or “fake news”. I have found reliable, mutual, sources of current events, and I do not share my controversial views in conversation.
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If you can’t relate to anything I said, if you don’t see an issue with scrolling or excessive posting, or if you have actual self control that’s awesome. I am in no way attempting to make people copy what I am doing, believe me, I know I am not a person to set standards. I will say that it has given me certain freedoms since I go on Social Media less. I don’t think we realize that seeing other people’s lives or opinions alters our perspectives, and don’t even get me started on the affects I think its had on our social skills (in person). This isn’t a roundabout way to judge those who don’t see it as an issue. I will admit that I believe always seeing what other people think can distract us from reality or developing our own opinions, but I am not trying to make you believe the same. I am simply sharing the positive outcome of me taking a step back from the modern ‘scrolling’ age we now live in, developing my own views, avoiding arguments with strangers, and learning to live in the moment rather than pulling out my phone to share something that has already passed me by.