Social media has become a significant part of our day-to-day lives. As a result, we have become dependent on our phones, tablets, or laptops to access these social media apps and websites.
There are positive aspects of social media, for example:
-The ability to stay in touch with family members and friends who may be scattered all over the world.
-Opportunities to learn new skills through tutorials.
-Excellent marketing tools for businesses and bloggers.
-Access to information.
By social media break, I don’t mean necessarily logging off for one full year (although this may be the case for some!); it may be a few hours a day or even over the weekend!
It all depends on you and what works best around your circumstances.
This blog post will arm you with vital information to help you be more mindful and intentional with your social media usage.
Lots of moms are on Facebook groups or apps to discuss parenting and share their experiences.
From my own experience, these apps have been so helpful during my pregnancies because these spaces provide a platform to share relatable stuff! One of my most favorite pregnancy apps is WhatToExpect.
According to PewResearch, they give the following data:
75% of whom use social media – turn to social media for parenting-related information and social support.
Social media is broadly viewed as a source of useful information and as one parenting tool among a collection of options. Mothers use it as a parenting resource slightly more often than fathers.
28% of online parents use Pinterest, including 40% of mothers and 15% of fathers.
I am not entirely surprised by the rich data that is provided by this research! I tend to rely on these groups more than my husband does! He prefers to ask other dads over the phone if he has a parental question or if he seeks a connection.
Let’s go back to my original point about marketing:
Social media has also become an innovative way that moms can start at home businesses and market and sell their products and services online. Nowadays, a company has to have an online presence on at least one social media platform.
That being said, the other day, I was logged into social media, and a mom was lamenting that she spends too much time on Facebook groups, which has cost her sleep quality and productivity. I remember reading comments where people said she spends more time on social media than their teenage kids!
Then it hit me, sometimes we automatically think that social media is a problem for the younger generation, but it can become a problem for anyone (moms too!).
As a result, everyone can work towards being more mindful of social media.
Over the years, I have seen moms start to embrace posting their real life.
Posting real life can be posting how one’s belly looks once they give birth or how the house can look like with three toddlers at home!
This is refreshing because I have seen countless moms post pictures that make it seem that they have it all together over the years. One can wonder, “How on earth do they cook, clean, and have happy kids all the time!”
Well, here would be an excellent segue to discuss the well-being issues that arise with social media:
1. Depressive symptoms due to comparison
A 2014 Study investigated how social media (Facebook) comparison can affect a person’s psychological health. The study provided evidence that people feel depressed after spending much time on Facebook due to comparing themselves.
2. Greater feelings of social isolation
Although this study calls for further research that focuses on directionality and reasons for these associations, it does provide evidence that participants with higher social media usage felt more isolated than individuals with lower social media usage.
3. Decline in well-being
A 2013 study showed a decline in subjective well-being in young adults when they used Facebook more and more.
4. Other mental health problems
The NIH summarized more studies that did show more mental health issues such as anxiety, psychological distress, self-esteem, etc.
So as mothers who rely on social media as powerful networking, marketing, and social connection tools, what can we do to ensure that we control the benefits of social media?
We also know that we need to be modeling proper social media usage for our children.
So here are some tips:
1. Track your usage
At times people think that these studies exaggerate social media usage. However, when you track your use, you may be surprised at the sheer amount of time we can spend on social media. Hopefully, armed with this information, it can motivate you to continue with steps 2-7 as you find appropriate.
2. Evaluate groups or apps that don’t give you joy!
If you have apps that aren’t business-related and don’t give you joy, evaluate them!
Instagram has always been an app that doesn’t satisfy me, so I don’t use it. I also moved from one pregnancy app to another when I was expecting my youngest child because one app wasn’t giving me joy, and I felt that the new app had moms I could connect with.
3. Turn off notifications
The notification bell can cause someone to get derailed and start another social media session without intending. That’s why it may be beneficial to turn off some notifications. For example, I don’t have my notifications on YouTube.
4. Deactivate your social media
This can be an excellent behavioral experiment to see how well you thrive without social media. I remember taking a hiatus once on one social media platform, and I never returned. I found that I wasn’t missing anything.
5. Set time limit/ daily quota
Most phones have this feature to set a time limit on social media. This can be an excellent way to stop mindless scrolling.
If you set 2 hours per day on a certain app, you will use it very wisely. Why? you will want to extend the life of your daily quota. You will be very mindful on how you spend your hours!
6. Switch off data
This is something I do at times when I am mindful and deliberate. I switch off the data so that I don’t access certain apps. However, I am still able to receive calls as usual.
7. Keep the phone away during bedtime or mealtimes (Phone free zones)
To improve well-being, this can be a plus! I have a policy where I don’t touch my phone after I enter bed. Sometimes it can be tempting to peek at the phone after bedtime, but it simply isn’t worth disrupting our precious mom sleep!
I hope this article has made you more aware of your social media usage!