I recently asked a friend if he spends a lot of time on Facebook or not. “I could probably spend less time on there,” was his response. And I think that’s probably a good answer for most of us. Especially for me.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest. The lists goes on and on. And it seems to be growing. It is certainly helpful and fine to use, but I think becoming addicted to it is a trap that we would do well to avoid. So how do we know we’re addicted? Here are seven signs:
1) It’s the first thing you check in the morning. The alarm goes off, you crawl out of bed, probably to use the restroom, and hop on Facebook. It’s the first thing you do every morning.
2) You check it at red lights. You’re at a red light, it’s been a whopping four seconds and you become agitated. What do you do? Check Social Media.
3) You check it almost incessantly during your day. You check it every chance you get. 10,15, 25 times per day. Every free moment you get, you’re on there. It’s part of your day to simply check it with every free second you have.
4) You check it when you’re hanging out with friends. Sure, we want to post a pic on Instagram when we’re hanging with the boys or when it’s Girl’s Night Out. But I’m referring to constantly checking Social Media when you’re with friends in a social setting. It’s like we have the “real thing” in front of us yet we jump online to settle for the artificial community!
5) You’re constantly worried about your online perception. How many “likes” did I get? Did anyone comment on my post? How many friends and followers do I have? Do people online see me as successful and beautiful and cool?
6) Your joy differs with the amount of reaction your post receives. You post something, and get 87 “likes.” Yes, you’re the man! Then you post something the next day, and get three “likes.” You feel sad. Your joy depends on the responses of your posts.
7) You quickly take down a post because it’s not getting the reaction you’d like. You post something and then 15 minutes later you take it down because it’s not getting the “likes,” “shares,” and “comments” you’d like it to have. It’s a sign of insecurity – and something I have done before.
So how do we get over our addiction? I’m no expert and have struggled with this tension myself. I find it helpful to completely take Social Media off my phone for one week. I do that once or twice a year and it is always helpful and refreshing. Taking other mini-breaks from it throughout the year have also proved to be effective.
But honestly, the number one thing that helps me enjoy Social Media without becoming addicted is to remember that I am accepted in Christ, and I don’t have to strive to pretend to be someone online that I’m really not for people I don’t even know. I have a lot of things to improve, but nothing to prove, and remembering Christ’s work on my behalf helps me to be secure when online, knowing that the real work is already finished.
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