Lately I have had an overwhelming urge to literally toss my smart phone out the window and go back to my Razor – delete all my social media accounts and go head be gone with the lot of it. I’m so serious. It’s like the world is screaming at me, “Look at me! See me! Acknowledge me! Engage me! Serve me! Support me! Speak to me!” And can we just acknowledge that mama’s before smart phones already felt that way?! And I am terrified that maybe I’m scarring my kids for life because they primarily see me looking at life and relating to others through a screen.
Friends, life through a screen isn’t real life at all. I want my girls to know that for all sorts of reasons. I want them to know that, in five years, when their friends start posting selfies of themselves all dolled up or always smiling, that’s not real life. Or when other friends only show how hard their lives are, that’s not real life either. I want them to know that life has more dimensions than any screen can portray, that sunsets don’t need a filter, and love doesn’t have to be broadcast-able to be real, tangible, and rich enough to fill you right up.
But it seems that social media is here to stay – and it is a valuable tool if we use it well and treat it as that – a tool, not a lifestyle. So, here are some parameters that have worked for me in the past:
- No social media on the smart phone (except for Instagram which can only really be used through the smart phone medium). Do you ever find yourself walking around the house carrying your phone like a security blanket? Like it’s an appendage, an extension of yourself? When I reach that point, I know that we are at defcon 5 and it’s time for a social media cleanse.
- Screen time time. The fact that “screen time” has become a thing is evidence alone that we have a problem. Regardless, I function so much better as a mama and as a human being when I leave my in my bedroom, or anywhere I am NOT going to be, until scheduled and limited times during the day. People can wait on you to respond. If it’s urgent enough, they’ll call you. If they don’t have your number, it probably isn’t that urgent. Also, I want my girls to see that I can identify a threat to my emotional, physical, and spiritual health and do a darn thing about it. And they can, too. Mama’s who make good choices breed kids who make good choices.
- No pictures. We have become a picture obsessed culture! I want to take pictures of all the things All of them because my babies – they really are so cute, and those cotton fields, they take my breath away – and somehow I’ve bought into the lie that capturing those things in images somehow validates them or makes them richer. But I wonder what would happen if I told my husband about them instead? If I whispered wonder to the Maker of the Universe instead of sending my thoughts out to the digital world? Maybe my gratitude would be richer and my heart would be fuller. So, sometimes I try to avoid taking so many pictures. I don’t want to miss a moment just trying to document it – we only get so many moments to enjoy!
All things digital and media based are here to stay, and I don’t necessarily think the answer is to run and hide from it all. I do, however, believe that if we fail to raise a generation of kids who understand that life is more than what we see on a screen – we will have failed them.
What are some boundaries you set to keep you and your people in healthy relationship with the screen world?