I’m sure most of us have been guilty of one (or MORE) of these in the past. We live in a world of constant entertainment. One minute of downtime, and we think we need to fill it with checking our various social media accounts. I went to Studio 5 on KSL to discuss how we can break ourselves of the online/social media addiction many of us face. I loved Brooke’s example during our discussion of what happened to just taking in the scenery when waiting for something? Here are the tips I discussed on Studio 5.
1. Create Online and “Online Free” zones in your house. One good way to do this is to trade in your laptop for a desktop, or an all-in-one unit like the Lenovo Flex. A more stationary device forces you to use it in specific locations instead of toting it all over your house. Mobile devices become more of a problem here though. Some rooms of your house or “occasions” should be labeled “online free zones” where mobile devices aren’t even able to cross the threshold of the room. This can create safe places where family members know that nothing will disrupt them from interacting.
2. Set Parental Controls… for YOURSELF! If you feel like sometimes your self control waivers, or maybe you just lose track of time while browsing social media. Setting parental controls on your own accounts can help you with that “unconscious” checking of devices. Most wireless routers can do internet blackouts for certain time periods, like late at night. You can also set controls on your account with Microsoft’s Family Safety tool. Here you can actually set how long you can use specific programs for. So if you only want 30 minutes of Facebook time, you can allow yourself 30 minutes of time with Internet Explorer. Obviously as the parent with all the passwords, you could always adjust the amount, but it’s a good chance to help remind you of how long you’ve been on the device.
3. The people in front of you are more important than the ones on the screen. If you are in a room of people, looking at your phone the whole time, sorry to say, but you’re doing it wrong. Always the person in front of you should be more important than the ones inside your phone or computer. This goes for the clerk at the store, your kids, your husband while on a date, and several other occasions where we may have the urge to check that phone. You can even make a game of it with family or friends. When in a big group, everyone puts their phones in the middle of the table. First person to reach for theirs has to buy everyone dessert, or something else fun like that. Just make sure you aren’t missing out on real life trying to see what other people are doing.
4. Don’t share to often. If you are sharing 20 times a day, chances are you are spending WAY too much time online. I like to pick ONE thing that happened during the day that was “share worthy” or one link I’ve found that was interesting, and share just that. Once or twice a day is fine, sometimes a couple more if there is a lot going on in your life that day (like when I head to New York, I tend to share a lot!). It’s definitely the quickest way to get hidden from MY feed if you share too much. I don’t want to open Facebook and see only your posts filling up my entire feed.
5. Don’t overshare. Some things are just better left unsaid in a public place. Keep things private that should be private. This especially goes for things you share about your children. Soon your kids will grow up a little bit, and their friends will start to Google their friends names and their own names. Would you want that little piece of embarrassing information you just shared about your kid to be fodder for some other kid that wants to pick on them? If you wouldn’t talk about it with other people around, or if you have to hide the status update from certain people, it’s best not to post it. With screen shots and lax privacy settings, ANYTHING can become public knowledge.
The bottom line is to step away from the screens from time to time, live in the moment. Stop and smell the flowers, as it were. Relationships will be strengthened and you will be able to gain a little perspective. Don’t compare your life with someone else’s highlight reel.
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I am a mom who can fix your blog, your computer, or your server. I have been in the IT industry supporting small businesses for over 15 years. As a diehard PC and Android user, I can usually be found sparring with Apple fanboys, or watching movies with my family.