Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Pinterest. These social media sites can broaden your horizons, be a tool for businesses and help maintain long-distance relationships amongst family and friends. However, when these websites start to cause stress, it may be time to shut it down.
My mom used to always say, “Go to God first with your problems. Talk to Him.” It’s difficult to remember that these days we can so easily “share” our lives with so many people at once.
As a parenting blogger, I have found that my posts do not so much revolve around my life as much as my life revolves around the blog. In times past, I worked long hours planning and spent more time frustrated with my kids, if they didn’t show the perfection I wanted to portray.
I love to watch my children grow at their own pace, so this was not me. The pressure got to be too much for me, let alone the immense effect it had on my family. That realization resulted in my dropping that level of writing. It was causing stress, so I let it go and never looked back.
A recent local tragedy brought me back to those old feelings. A teen in our community committed suicide. Reports said it was due to online bullying.
I remember being a teenager well. Those years are hard, full of growing pains. I also remember my safe place was my home. My parents raised us in a very loving, God-fearing home. I look to them and God during rough days. I could relax and find respite from the outside world. Summers were a great time to get over a hard year. Holidays were a much needed reprieve at the start of winter.
When can we disconnect now? Is it even possible?
I’ve found it so hard to let go. At 32, I am slipping into a form of “social media stalking” (constantly watching what others post online).
Social media has changed how we communicate. There is no immediate consequence to what we say or how we react, so often our online posts are unfiltered. One status update can make or ruin your day.
I feel very sorry for today’s youth. I wonder if they even realize what they are missing. I never cared so much about anyone else’s opinion until I became an avid online presence. I could care less if people liked my clothes, weight or the places I liked to hang out. I just lived. I was able to let go of drama and bad relationships that would maul my self-confidence.
Life creates distance for a reason. Sometimes we need to disconnect and seek God alone. If I was left out at school, it was easy to distance myself from that pain and move forward. I cannot imagine seeing pictures of the parties I was not invited to or my high school crush out with other girls all over Facebook.
The competition in my high school years was academic or sports based. For teens today, it is very different. Now, it’s who can be the envy of the class through their “social” life.
Social media has made it more about posting the moment than living it.
It can amplify the loneliness for someone already feeling left out. It shows us what others have and what we don’t.
Parents ought to be the ones building our children up. May our kids never equate their worth with how many friends they have on Facebook or how many likes their picture gets on Instagram.
This year, I am changing my own online ways. I have deactivated my online profile and am opening my Bible more. God’s Word is what matters in my life. His opinion is what my life should revolve around.
Join me, and teach your kids to use these social media websites responsibly. Let’s learn to do this by setting an example and limiting how much importance it has in our lives.
Erin James is a freelancer and mother of three whose passion is helping other moms and dads with positive parenting.
In addition to writing CBN.com’s Mommy and the Joyful Three parenting blog, she has also contributed to whattoexpect.com, a popular pregnancy and parenting website associated with the best-seller, What to Expect When You’re Expecting.