I Quit Facebook for 10 Days: What I Learned From My Social Media Break

When I’m bored, I pick up my phone and start mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.

When I’m into a show, but a commercial comes on, I pick up my phone and again, start mindlessly scrolling through Facebook.  Then I might scroll through Instagram, and even flip over to Pinterest.

We just gave our teenage daughter her first phone, but we haven’t approved access to social media for her yet.  I’m worried about her becoming addicted to her generation’s favorite social media app, just like I’m addicted to mine.

Yep, I’ll admit it.  I’m addicted to social media.

I Quit Facebook for Ten Days Here's What I Learned from My Social Media Break

So when the leader of my church, speaking at a recent women’s conference, challenged us to go on a 10 day social media break, I groaned a little, but agreed that it was something I needed to do.

I deleted the apps for Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest from my phone.  I didn’t close my accounts or anything; I just deleted the easy access buttons from my home screen.

At first it was hard.  My fingers itched to grab my phone at every moment of down time or commercial interruption.  I felt like I was surely missing out on important details from my friends’ lives. See, I originally joined Facebook because it helps me keep in touch with my childhood friends and family, all of which are scattered around the country.  

Soon, though, I realized how much my social media addiction was a distraction.

I would read stupid articles and get caught up in strings of memes rather than engage with my family or do something worthwhile with my time.

I realized my attention was split most of the time.  Half the time I would be both watching a show and scrolling through Facebook on my phone, my full focus on neither one nor the other.

I noticed most of what I got caught up in on social media had nothing to recommend it.  I may have joined to stay in touch with friends and family, but hardly any of those people actually show up in my feed.  Instead it is mostly sponsored posts, clickbait, and posts from people I don’t know in real life.

Over the ten days, I needed social media less and less. I filled the down time with books, small tasks around the house, playing games with my kids, and scripture study.  I barely missed my social media.

When I went back to Facebook, I did feel some relief. I still worried I had missed out on things.  Addictions don’t go away in ten days. But, you know what?

Facebook didn’t miss me.

None of my friends messaged me, asking me why I wasn’t posting. They probably didn’t even know I was gone. And if anything, my news feed now is even LESS of the things I really want to see, leaving me pondering if I should just close my account for good.  

There are a lot of jokes about the younger generations being addicted to their phones.  As parents we worry about all the things readily available to our children via the internet and social media. This social media break helped me remember that us adult, us parents, are just as susceptible to these influences and addictions.  We need to be the ones setting the examples for our kids.  

So, I leave you with a challenge.

Evaluate yourself. How much time do you spend on your phone? Are you fully present with your family? Are you dividing your attention between social media and something else? Ask yourselves, what are you really getting out of your social media? Does it still serve the same purpose it did when you signed up? Or is it time to move on to something better?

Take some time to ask yourself the hard questions.  Like me, you might just be surprised at the answers.

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