By Daniel Francis
Tell me if this sounds familiar.
You wake up one morning with as much excitement to get out of bed as someone heading to the dentist for a root canal.
You immediately reach for your phone, instinctively.
Your phone lights up and you see the notifications you received while sleeping. You excitedly attend to the notifications and find yourself on Instagram/Tik Tok scrolling down the timeline endlessly.
You cannot remember what you came on the platform for, but you continue scrolling.
You glance at the time and 30 minutes have elapsed.
You are going to be late for work, so you hustle to get ready.
If this sounds familiar, do not feel bad. It is safe to say that we have all been there.
Social media is designed to be addictive. Behind the pixels of your devices live thousands of engineers who have worked tirelessly to keep you on your device for as long as possible. All this so the companies they work for can make money off of your attention through ads.
Aza Raskin, the creator of the infinite scroll function used on sites such as Facebook, has even voiced his regret for creating such a feature. He knows it has aided in the current addiction we have to our devices.
The question then begs, how much is too much social media? I feel ashamed at the end of the week when my phone sends me a summary of my app usage.
The number of hours spent on each social media app grows weekly. So much so that I feel strange when I am not on my device.
‘Thanks, Phone, for the consistent unprompted reminder that I spend too much time on you by the way.’
It is not to say that starting your day scrolling through social media adds to your life. There is a reason why many find peace in avoiding their phones the moment they wake up.
Negative or scandalous content trends more easily than other content on these platforms. Do you know what absorbing all that negative content does to your brain? In this case, you are what you eat.
That negative content can make you feel negative, anxious, and unfocused. It is a wonder that there is a mental health issue in my generation.
While writing this my mind immediately ran on the scripture Matthew 6:24: “No one can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second or be attached to the first and despise the second.”
There is no space for us to serve two masters. As much as we may hate to admit it, our addiction to social media is not only detrimental to our mental health but our faith as well.
We find it difficult to take a few minutes to read our Bible but the articles, photos, and videos about Kanye and Kim’s post-break up altercations or Rihanna’s pregnancy, I’m sure, have been seen by all of us.
We prioritise less time to our faith and more time to our addictive devices to our detriment.
Not to be underscored, but there are, of course, positive uses for social media. I use it heavily for my business activities: marketing myself and my products and building a base of people to whom I add value with my knowledge. But with all things, balance is needed.
I simply am calling for a deeper level of self-awareness. In this time of Lent, why not take the initiative to limit your social media usage? Or, at the very least, you can turn your notifications off at a specific time.
Take some of the time you would spend mindlessly scrolling online and dedicate it to God by reading a Bible verse or two. Maybe say a prayer and offer something up to God.
At the end of the day, we must answer to God, not our followers or devices. I’ve taken the stance to curtail my social media this Lent and increase the time I spend reading my Bible.
That is my Lenten mission.
What will you do?
Matthew 6:33, “Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well.”
Daniel Francis is a millennial helping other millennials. He is a two-time author of the books The Millennial Mind and The Millennial Experience, and an entrepreneur. Over the past four years, he has served as a Personal Development Coach whose work targets Millennials and helps them tap into their full potential. He is also a Self-publishing coach and has guided hundreds on self-publishing their book successfully.
LinkedIn: Daniel Francis