This summer I creep-crawled onto Facebook and into my social circle. Then I dove in. Then I started to drown. There I was again, weighted down by FOMO, angst over friends’ political positions, and guilt over spending any time on social media at all.
I have to be on Facebook for the purposes of my blog and two online courses I recently took but socially I had been absent since September. This summer, after a glorious few weeks of letting myself get lost in political posts, personal updates, and unrelated videos, I turned on my phone’s “Screen Time” restriction and set the limit for social media (combined Pinterest, Gmail, and Facebook and Facebook Messenger) at one and half hours per day.
If you have an iPhone, you can do this by going to Settings>Screen Time>App Limits>Add Limit and then select your version of “enough.” You can do the same thing on an Android phone by going to Settings for Device>Daily Limit. Additionally, this is a great tool when you are a parent as you can use a passcode. Think of it as insurance that their chores get done.
I do find Facebook useful for finding local events for our family to attend that aren’t already on the city calendar or to get more specifics and weather-related announcements for events that are on the city calendar.
It’s Your Fault, BTW
Let’s be real. The blame on the negativity you find on social media can be entirely traced back to you. You make a choice every day to continue to be friends with the people who don’t share your values. In a Huffington Post article, “7 Types of People You Should Unfriend on Facebook ASAP,” Lindsay Holmes helps the reader to cull their friends list down to the most mentally-beneficial relationships. I won’t lay out the whole list here so please read the article. The point is to take out the negativity that you are exposed to on a daily basis.
Your real self does not exist on Facebook and neither does anyone else’s real self. As an added challenge, read through Holmes’s list and then scroll through your own page to determine if you fit any of her descriptions and whether or not that bothers you. If it does, change your online voice or get off altogether.