smart phone

Written by Joe Zhou

Social media has taken over our everyday lives. It’s as if you’re ‘missing out’ if you don’t have at least one, but typically more social media accounts. While social media is a great way to stay in touch with those near and far, is it all that it’s cracked up to be?

Does social media have pitfalls and issues? While it’s a great way to keep up with friends new and old, it has its challenges, which we’ll cover here.

The Addiction

First, let’s discuss addiction because social media addiction is very real. Many young mums feel as if they’re ‘missing out’ if they don’t check their platforms often. If you feel as if you can’t function unless you check your platforms, it may be time to take a step back. Too many people end up living in a ‘virtual world’ and forget about the world around them – the real world.

If you are constantly refreshing your feed on your phone or find yourself sitting at the computer all day long, it’s time to take a break. Addiction to social media is just as bad as an addiction to smoking or gambling. It’s time to take control of your actions and stop the addiction.

The Need to Document Your Life

It’s fun to read updates about people’s lives that are ‘big.’ For example, you may be able to see your niece’s piano concert by checking your social media platforms even though she lives thousands of miles away.

But do you need to know what every person in your network had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner; when they workout and where they shop? So many of us have fallen prey to documenting every little thing we do on social media and it’s taking us away from ‘real life.’ Save the updates for the ‘important parts of your life’ and leave the mundane alone while you live your normal life.

Not Making ‘Real’ Friends

It’s so much easier to be someone else behind a screen than it is in person, right? Suddenly you may find yourself with a lot more ‘friends’ but online friends. If you feel that you can be someone you aren’t because you are behind a screen, it becomes easier to isolate yourself at home. You still get the connection you need by talking with your network online, but you don’t have to face people in person, where it’s much harder to be someone that you aren’t.

Feeling Like you Don’t Measure Up

This one is huge. How many times have you gone online only to see your friends’ ‘perfect lives.’ Suddenly you feel upset about your own life and wonder what’s wrong with you. Do you know that what you see online is ‘real’ though? Oftentimes, there’s a front put up that makes it look like life is perfect, but your online friends aren’t showing their real lives.

What they show on social media is what we call ‘smoke and mirrors.’ They make it look great by only offering the highlights or the good stuff. They don’t show you the arguments they have with their spouses or kids or the disarray of their house. They don’t talk about the financial troubles they have or the pain of taking care of an elderly parent. Don’t fall for the ‘perfect life’ trap and make yourself feel less than when it may not even be real.

Missing Out on Time With Your Family

Are you so focused on creating the ‘perfect’ social media post that you miss out on what’s really happening right in front of you? Are you positioning your kids so that it looks like they’re having the ‘best’ time and missing out on their true feelings?

Many of us feel like we have to make this perfect reality online and if we can’t post the ‘perfect’ pictures that we’ve failed. What if you let all of that go and just enjoyed life? Stop and enjoy your kids and each moment you have with them. Take the pictures, but don’t worry about them being perfect or ‘post-worthy.’ Instead, live your life and if you have a picture or two that make a great post, go for it, but if not, the memories in your head will last a lot longer.

Seeking Validation

There’s power in the validation of a ‘like’ on social media. Teens fall for this all of the time. They post a picture or status and then obsess about how many people liked or commented on their post. They may even post a status ‘spam my latest post,’ just to get that validation.

Honestly, when people scroll through social media and ‘like’ or comment on a post, they are doing so in a robotic manner. It doesn’t mean that they like you more because you posted that picture or status. It doesn’t mean that they value you more either. It means they came across it and hit a button. Don’t put all of your worth on the number of likes or comments you get – if you post a picture or status and no one likes it, that doesn’t mean no one likes you in life.

Social media has its benefits and drawbacks. If you use it, try to do so with some rules in place. It’s very easy to get sucked into the complications of it, letting it ruin your emotional health. Remember that we all survived without social media not too long ago and you can survive without it today too.

If you do have social media accounts, make yourself accountable. Only have one or two accounts and set times that you’ll check them. It’s easy to lose track of time when you get sucked into the constant chatter, likes, and even arguments that start online. If you start taking control of your own social media habits, your kids may follow suit, which is an even more important endeavor.

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