I've felt compelled lately to take a break from social media and technology. The amount of time I was spending on my phone seemed normal, like every other college student. However, I kept noticing ways that God was telling me 'you need to stop.'
It was a decision made over the time span of about a month. As silly as it sounds, social media is actually hard to give up. It wasn't something I was able to just do. I enjoyed scrolling through Facebook and Instagram, seeing everyone's pictures and posts. I laughed at the funny videos and tagged Grant in funny memes.
Besides, what else was I supposed to do in the bathroom?
The first sign I got that I needed to take a break from technology was when I checked My Screen Time on my iPhone settings. I didn't even know my phone had this tracker on it, but Grant showed me how to check it.
I'll admit: I'm the first person to call Grant out on how he's always on his phone. But looking at this tracker, I was astounded at the length of time I spent on my phone.
I used the fact that I didn't have class that particular day as an excuse as to why my screen time was well over seven hours. But really, I was just on my phone all the time.
The second signal I received was a particular sermon series at my parents' church. I don't normally go to their church, but one random Sunday, I did. The sermon series was on technology detox--Redeeming the Screen-- and how our phones have become idols to us.
Every point Kyle made resonated with me, because my obsession with technology was wasting so much valuable time. Rather than using my phone to communicate with others, I used it as a means to waste time and avoid boredom. Southeast also launched a week-long screen detox challenge. It really caught my attention and I participated in the first few days, but I slacked towards the end.
This was the moment when I realized that I needed to make a change. The amount of time I wasted on social media and technology was insane, and I felt convicted to rearrange my priorities. But like any other self-centered college girl, I made excuses and put the whole thing off.
The last (and final) signal that God sent was a new book I'm reading, Rhythms of Renewal. One particular chapter describes how the author also felt lost and consumed with her use of technology, and she describes how she took a two-month detox from social media.
At the end of the chapter, there were reflection questions and a suggestion to pause on our use of social media. I thought, okay fine, this is it! I need to make a change.
So I deleted Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Messenger, and Youtube from my phone. My screen looked bare and empty with so few apps on it. There was like, nothing to do...
I decided to take a detox from only social media, rather than a complete detox from my phone. I'm in school and use my phone daily to communicate with Grant, Erika, Mom, etc. I also get notifications from my school email and keep my phone with me when I drive.
Simply giving up social media was so incredibly hard. I started this past Friday. I had anxiety from the simplest things - what about my snap streaks? I'm wearing a cute outfit, I need to Snap it. I should post these hiking pictures on Facebook and Instagram! But as soon as I thought these things, I realized how stupid and insignificant they really were.
I've come to realize that the benefit of social media (reconnecting with others, lifting each other up) has become replaced by a time filler, a comparison tool, a way to get 'likes' and just a way for me to feel less alone.
I've taken a hard look at my daily life and social media, and I'm astounded by how far I've fallen. It's a deep hole, a viscous cycle of self-doubt, envy, and idolatry. I was worshiping it.
I'm writing this blog post so you can reflect on your time spent on technology and social media. What are your priorities? What are you filling your time with? Is it really necessary to capture every moment with a picture, or can we learn to live in the moment?
It's hard. Be on the lookout for an update on how my detox is going!