Getting Caught Up in Social Media

September 29, 2011

We have come a long way in our country haven’t we? I remember doing an interview with my grandparents while I was in Jr. High. I asked them about what it was like growing up in the time period they did. I remember asking about all of the changes they faced and the difference in their lives now. It was an incredible conversation. I had the conversation for a class but I deeply valued that time we spent talking. I remember hearing about them remembering the first time they had running water to the house, or when they got a TV and a phone. These were all luxuries we take for grated that they were very excited to finally have.

It blows me away sometimes as i think about the differences in the lives everyone lives now in comparison to even 50-60 years ago. I remember my first Sunday School at the new church. One girl was having “withdraws” because she was grounded and her cell phone had been taken. Cell phones have grown to be an extended part of our bodies. We are on computers for hours on end. I remember getting home and rushing over to the computer so that I could check Facebook (it had been probably 8 hours since I checked it last!!).

We can now carry the internet around in our pockets and access it anytime we want. We have and app for everything (I saw a funny ad for a cutting board app this morning). Google is way more than just a search engine now. They want to be the place where you can find information, and Facebook seems to be inviting people to stay longer and do more on their site as well. Skype and other similar programs allows not only voice but video chatting.

How wonderful these tools can be! We can now stay in contact with friends and family faster and easier than ever before! We can stay “connected” wherever we are. I heard a sermon recently by Professor William P. Walton of Central Christian College of the Bible on how much technology can add to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ in places that cannot be reached otherwise. These are wonderful and mind blowing tools that we can, and must use for the Kingdom of God.

How heartbreaking it is then, when we find all of this technology being abused. Pornography viewing is at an all-time high. Parents are worried for their children because of the threat of predators online. Terms such as “cyber-bullying” have made their way into our culture. There is also the risk of simply becoming addicted to all the information that is at our fingertips. We can become addicted to the technology and instead of it being used by us it uses us. This should not be!

How Do I Stop the Cycle?

REALIZE THE CYCLE: It first takes realizing that you have a problem. That seems really basic and you hear things like that in some sort of twelve step, but it is true! You cannot overcome the issue if you are not willing to see and admit you have a problem. Are you neglecting real time (I’m talking face to face) with family and friends so that you can stay on your devices longer whether for good or bad reasons? Are you wasting time surfing instead of being productive and getting work done?

TAKE DRASTIC STEPS: I find that if I don’t take a huge step and I try to monitor my time it does not work as well as giving it up completely. One spring I realized I was immediately getting on the internet and typing in “facebook” without even knowing I was. I then gave up Facebook for a month. I did not allow myself on for any reason (my relationship status changed during that time but I refused to announce it to the Facebook world until that month was over). Sometimes it is just not feasible to give up a certain media, then get help. Confide in a friend who will keep you accountable. Tell him/her your plan and ask them to be annoying about making sure you are sticking to it. Michael Hyatt uses a program called anit-social (there is also one that works on PC’s). This program blocks social networking for a certain amount of time so you can get other work done.

FIND A NEW PLACE TO WORK: I’m not talking about leaving your job. What I mean is if you find that you are more tempted to waste time in a certain place, avoid that place. Work on the other side of your office, move to a different chair, spend the morning at McDonalds using up their internet.

There are numerous steps a person may take to gain back freedom from the addiction of social media. I do not want to make it sound like I think it is all bad, I have a Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and this blog, but it can be harmful to being productive or the work of the Kingdom. We must make sure we are using it for good and not letting it use us.
What steps have you taken to be in control or take it back of the social media you have?


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