I’m a true millennial in that I’ve experienced the world both before and after social media. I know what it was like living without the pressures of it and honestly, I long for those days.
We’re obsessed with it.
I check my social media accounts at least 20 times per day, maybe 25. It’s too much, but it’s like I can’t stop. I have to know what’s happening in the world. Too often, I find myself just aimlessly scrolling through my Twitter or Instagram feed and suddenly I’ll stop and think to myself, what am I even doing? I spend so much time entranced by it all that when I snap back to reality, I wonder how those 10 minutes benefited my life.
We’re shown unrealistic expectations.
There is a small percentage of content on social media that is 100% true. Filters, edits, and stories can be completely false and in no way show what’s happening in real life. But when we see these things online, even if we know it’s untrue, we still feel a twinge of envy or disappointment with our own lives. Even supposedly healthy expectations can be discouraging. I’m a plus-size woman and I follow plus-size bloggers and clothing brands online. Still, I can’t relate to more than half of these women! Even in a world of inclusion we can still feel excluded.
Social media caused strain in my previous relationship.
When I was dating my ex, I was obsessed with checking his Facebook. I checked it at least five times per day. Maybe it was because he was so emotionally unavailable or secretive, but I needed to keep up with him. If he friended another girl or some girl commented on his page, we would fight about it. In hindsight, it was for good reason since he was cheating on me, but still, there was no need to be so obsessive. When the trust is there, we can’t ruin it by speculating on every little thing on social media.
I’m missing out on things.
When I dive into my iPhone, the rest of the world is tuned out—maybe not completely, but enough that I’m missing what’s really going on. When I’m consumed by my phone, there are a million other things that I’m not doing that I could be doing that would provide much more value to my life than reading another funny tweet. I tend to scroll, scroll, scroll on my phone if I’m not driving in the car and I’m missing out on the world. I could be appreciating the sky, the trees, the people but I’m not. I’m “too busy” with a world that’s only partially real.
I don’t want to miss my family time.
Now that I have a son, I’m more aware of my addiction than ever before. I’m reminded by stories online of the importance of putting down the damn phone, like the story of a boy who wrote a story about how he wished he could be a smartphone because then his parents might pay more attention to him. Or the story of the mom and son both reading books on a train. When someone asked the mother how she got her son to read instead of play on a device, she said, “Children don’t hear us, the imitate us.” I’m telling you, that one hit me like a freight train.
I want to teach my children to be better.
I didn’t grow up with smartphones. I had the internet eventually, but my childhood consisted of playing outside for hours, playing board games with my siblings, reading books, and writing stories. I genuinely believe that I am as creative as I am because I had to be. I want that for my children. They deserve that.
Maybe I’m just nostalgic.
I loved my childhood. I truly think that my generation was the greatest. I mean, it was the ’90s! It was really the last “simpler time” because it was before all this technology really came into play. I want to provide my children with this simplicity. I do understand the benefits of technology, but we have to draw the line between education and obsession.
Funny enough, my job is in social media.
Considering my career is centered around social media, you would think I would be 100% gung-ho about everyone using it. I do understand the benefits of it from a business perspective—we’re all on social media, so it makes sense for businesses to be there are well—but we were all doing just fine with marketing products before social media. We could manage without it.
It’s not going away.
As much as I kind of wish it would, social media is here to stay. I do love it, I just don’t love the obsessive parts about it, so I do what I can. I make it a point to put my phone away at the end of the day so I can spend that time with my family. When I reach for my phone out of boredom, I hesitate and stop sometimes because it isn’t necessary. When I’m around my son, I focus all of my attention on him. He comes before my phone every single time.
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