Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Smart Phones, Dumb People

If you have taken the time to watch the Look Up video that is circulating around Facebook, I can only hope that it struck a chord with you. I didn't have to see this video for it to strike a chord with me because I already knew everything it was saying. Technology has completely changed since I graduated college, and that was just in 2005. I say technology, but maybe I mean social media. Technology has just made it easier to access social media.

I gave up Facebook for Lent this year. Usually I give something up for Lent that I can already do without as to make this adjustment easier on myself, selfish really. This year I decided it had to be Facebook. It was overtaking my life and I found myself checking it so often that if I added up the minutes in a day, it was probably over an hour of daily Facebook time. It was first thing in the morning, as my children greeted me in bed, it was last thing at night, when I should have been focused on conversation and laughter with my husband, it was while I was waiting...anywhere on anything. I thought the adjustment would be really tough. How would I pass the time after dinner while I waited for my kids to finish bathing, how would I pass the time...at all? I honestly, did not miss Facebook for one second. Now don't get me wrong, I was still on Facebook at some times because I have to be for my job. I do social media for companies for cryin' out loud! (Which I do believe it is very important for companies to have an online presence)  I also cleaned out the garage and posted items for sale, but that was it. I didn't post pictures, I didn't read my news feed, I didn't like, I didn't comment, I didn't check to see if someone had liked or commented on my stuff. It was so...refreshing! Yes I know that this is totally ironic that I'm posting this on Facebook, but as with anything I write about, I can only hope to help one person make a change for the better in their life.

Social Media has changed my way of thinking. My kid says something funny, and the first place I log it is on Facebook, not my memory or not written down so I can always remember it. I catch my dog in a funny position, MUST SHARE with the world. My husband does something sweet, EVERYONE MUST KNOW. Yes I know, shame on me for that. I found that I wasn't savoring these moments for myself, I was savoring it for other people who quite honestly I would walk right by if I saw them in a store as to avoid awkward communication. So I found myself wondering, WHO CARES?  I love seeing that my family and loved ones that don't live around me are liking and commenting on my posts. That in itself makes Facebook worth keeping for me. I do love to see engagement announcements and baby announcements more than anything. I wondered if by giving up Facebook, Would I be happier? Would I be more positive? Would I stop trying to compete with all the "Supermoms" out there? And the answer was YES! I love that people from around the world can ban together and pray for the sick or injured. Yet, when I'm reading tragic story after tragic story on a daily basis, I worried about my kids more than I already did! Will they be hit by a falling tree branch, will they be struck with the next crazy disease no one has ever heard of, will I be the mom that dies too soon, am I going to panic at night thinking a poisonous spider will be crawling in their bed? I'm a mother, I already worry about all of this, but do I need to have a constant reminder that we could be next? My anxiety level was out of control. Do I need to read everyone's political rants? Good for you for having an opinion that frankly I am just too tired to even try and understand. I'm not giving it up entirely, you'll still see posts from me, but I am not getting sucked back into this time waster again. I will use my time more wisely. I will be outside with my kids more, I will be cleaning my house better, I will be preparing better meals for my family, I will be a better person because of it.

Facebook wasn't about me anymore, it was about everyone else. It makes running into that friend from high school you haven't seen in 10 years, totally anti-climactic. As was my 10 year high school reunion. Every night I told myself I wouldn't check it before turning the light off and every night, I lied to myself. Every morning I told myself I would start with Jesus Calling and every morning I forgot. How sad is that? Then one day when I remembered to read Jesus Calling, it was about idolatry. Facebook was my Idol. Something had to change and I was the only one that could do it. I turned off all notifications, I moved my app to the last page of my phone, and that was it. I was FREE! So free. My son didn't have to tell me "Mommy, put your phone down!" How awful was I that I even had to let it get to that point in the first place? I felt like total scum.

So that brings me to my next point, take this crap away from your kids NOW. I totally get the iPad is a babysitter thing and we are all guilty of it. I would be a hypocrite if I said my kids never played with one, but I will say that it is completely last resort for entertainment. And even then, it's almost always educational and I'm right there with them going over it. Nothing irks me more than when I see a family out to dinner and the kids are playing on their devices. Teach your kids manners, like we had to learn, teach your kids to communicate, teach them to behave in a social situation, teach them that it's wrong to be on your device at the dinner table by putting your own phone down. My kids are at the prime age for entertainment by this stuff when we are out to dinner, but do you know what I bring for them? A backpack full of stamps, stickers, coloring books, and crayons. And guess what, the old school way works just fine! Teenagers these days, heck 20 somethings, have girlfriends or boyfriends they haven't physically spoken to in days on the phone, but only through texting, and they call that a relationship? That is what they think a relationship is. I am so glad this didn't exist when I was a teen or in college. Texting was just getting started in college. So, lets band together as parents, as the human race and remove ourselves from this new way of "communicating" and "socializing". If you think about it, it's really the opposite. You might think it's going to be hard, but I am quite certain, it won't be near as hard as you think.

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