It has only been four days, ok less than four days since I started my challenge. No Facebook for one month. It sounds silly; it sounds easy (and it is for some)….But, I am in withdrawal! It’s a habit, and a habit that I just wanted to see if I could change. It’s a pointless (but fun) habit, and I wondered what I would spend that time doing if I weren’t on Facebook like I am every night for about 20 minutes. On days off, I’m sure it’s more.
Social media has a way of sucking you in. The pictures, in particular, appeal to me (and I can do without the political debates and agendas, but I honestly find those entertaining too). And then I realized after I started the challenge that if I post a blog from WordPress, then I won’t read the comments from you all either. (And, that makes me sad so I had Bo read them to me the other night without looking!! Now, that was weird and I realized that there is something so powerful in the visual…But, still that’s all I get for now).
It would be easy to say, let’s scratch this whole silly thing. But, I’m stubborn and I want to see what will happen over the course of the next couple weeks. For now, in my down time, I think about checking it. I deleted the app from my phone so there’s no quick, simple fix now!
Smart devices, are they really that ‘smart’? Every day, adults (including me) are walking around with their phones glued to their hand constantly killing time and checking unnecessary things, wasting time. I just don’t think they make us any smarter. They allow for instant entertainment and constant stimulation. It’s convenient to get information. But, is that a good thing? It’s an addictive trap that I, for one, have fallen into.
On our most recent vacation to Universal and the Magic Kingdom, I noticed an overwhelming amount of adults walking around with their phones in hand. While I understand that sometimes it may be helpful, if we are always distracted by checking something else, how can we enjoy what’s right in front of us. More importantly, what does it teach our children?
When the dinner table does not include dinner talk, then how are we connecting? Parents handing out the tablets to kill time, parents checking their emails instead of talking, and not giving each other undivided attention is just rude. It is easy and it’s not hurting anyone….or is it?
It’s a habit, and to be frank, I think it’s a bad one. It’s become the norm in this society but does that make it ‘smart’? It’s something I’m pondering right now. When I hear students tell me about how annoyed they are because their mom or dad is always on their phone, then that is not ‘smart’. It’s prioritizing the false sense of connection that one gets through social media and smart devices and modeling the wrong message to our kids. It’s a ‘fix’ and I can tell you their addictive qualities that I’m experiencing right now!
This week at school, I checked in with a student, a boy (of course) who’s favorite (and only) outlet and hobby is video games. He has a Kindle, an X-box, and a tablet. When I talk to him about how things are going at home, it’s always the first (and sometimes only) thing he talks about, getting a new game or beating some foreign level. Over this fall break, however, he told me his mom made him take a break from his X-box (something he would never choose to do). So, when I asked what he did instead, he cheerfully told me he played with a friend outside! (Yay, a real kid doing real-kid things!)
His finger nails are usually chewed down and the boy has horrible difficulty focusing and staying on task at school. I have even had a frank conversation with grandfather to let him know that gaming limits would really be beneficial to him (because he’ll never voluntarily stop, just like my son too)! I don’t think it’s any coincidence that a boy who relies on constant stimulation to entertain him has problem listening to his teacher, a human, at school! The boy doesn’t see the connection or even think he has a problem so it’s the adults that need to set the expectations and rules for the electronics.
We are addicted! And while sometimes, like drugs and alcohol, some people know when to say when and can control their impulses, while some of us become addicted. It’s a habit. Facebook is my habit. It’s not all day long and it doesn’t make me a good or bad person, but I realize that it’s not easy to stop. So, I will stick with this challenge. After around 3 weeks of change, a habit is supposedly easy to squash. I know the first couple days are usually the hardest but I am dying to see you with your adorable families! I feel like I’m out of the loop, honestly. But, I will persevere for this experiment.
Am I spending my time doing something more productive as hoped? Not really….yet? Am I trying to get you off Facebook? No. Keep on posting those cute baby pics! (I just won’t see them). Will I become ‘smarter’ without FB? Probably not. But, I do want to just see if I can crush this habit. Because when we rely on our ‘smart’ devices too much, we can be missing out on real people, real lives, and real experiences that do make us ‘smarter’ or truly connected.