Picture this: It’s Sunday morning and that little notification from the screen-time app pops up telling you how much time you spent on your phone this week. Typically, it isn’t too bad…or is it?
On Sunday my phone notified me that my screen-time was up like, 40% from the last week. My pride won’t let me share the exact amount of time I spent on my phone every day, but I was not proud of the number.
I’m a social media intern, so I spent a fair amount of time on social media doing important things like looking at engagement and analytics, but it would be a lie for me to say that’s all I do on social media.
I spend a significant amount of time scrolling, comparing, scrolling, comparing, and then scrolling some more. We all do it, but why? Why do we stay in the unhealthy habit of comparing ourselves to people we see online?
Personally, I think it’s because we know that social media can do so much good for us that we overlook the harm that it can bring.
Okay, i’m not here to bash social media. I am SO grateful for social media. It has helped me expand my talents and realize how much potential I have within digital media. With that being said, too much social media can significantly impact my mood, mental health, and view of myself. It leads to comparison issues.
Not even in terms of physical comparison alone, because too much social media makes us compare every aspect of our being to someone else.
David Dobrik (who just bought a brand-new, gigantic house) is going to make us feel like we aren’t successful when our scales are two entirely different things. That Instagram model with ten million followers is going to make us look at ourselves in the mirror differently.
It is impossible to see successful people online and not feel a little bit of sadness that we aren’t them. But that’s the thing-they are ONLINE. No one puts the bad online. Also, why the heck are we comparing ourselves to other people when we were certainly not created to walk the same path at everyone else.
Do you know how boring it would be if we all lived the same life? Remember that episode of SpongeBob where Squidward went to live in the community doing the exact same thing with the exact same people EVERY day? I imagine it would be a bit like that.
My point is that too much social media is bad for anyone. Too much consumption of anything is bad for anyone.
When we spend hours a day on social media, we are isolating ourselves. God created us to be a society. He wants us to work together, grow together, and build relationships together. We can’t advance His Kingdom alone.
I shared a poll on my Instagram story a few days ago asking my followers if they felt like social media can be harmful to their mental health sometimes. Only three (3!!) people said no. Over one hundred people said yes.
Afterwards, I asked my friends to share some ways they cut down on screen-time. Some of my favorite responses involved spending time with friends and family, and of course, finding hobbies to fill time that would be mindlessly wasted scrolling.
Maybe that’s why I like spending time with you guys. While social media has given us such a good sense of community, we will always be relational people. Maintaining healthy media consumption will always be important.