I Took Facebook and Twitter off My Phone — and I’m a Better Mom for It
This dysfunctional relationship wasn’t working.
— -- (Editor's note: This article first appeared on Babble.com and has been reprinted here with permission. Disney is the parent company of both Babble and ABC News.)
One of the first steps in the recovery of an addiction is admitting there’s a problem. I think I’ve known there was a troubling dynamic between my iPhone and I for a while now, but I only recently admitted to myself that this dysfunctional relationship wasn’t working. While some days I wish I could go cold-turkey on the whole social media thing (and I secretly envy what few friends I have who don’t have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account), in reality I not only thoroughly enjoy most of the interactions I have with friends and readers online, but it’s a pretty crucial part of my job. To permanently cut ties with all forms of social media would probably be a bad idea and would pretty much be the end of my freelance writing career.
Still, this gnawing feeling that I was spending way too much time and energy on my phone wasn’t going away. I was finding myself checking my phone every few minutes, rolling through my Facebook and Twitter feed almost absent-mindedly. With the intense and steady stream of world events going on lately, I found myself getting wrapped up in reading one news story after another, digesting comments and clicking from link to link. I was getting a steady dose of information overload and too often allowing opinions rather than facts to direct my mood for the day. And checking too close to bedtime was often leading to feelings of unease and upset, making my already poor sleeping habits even worse. All this, including the obvious time and attention it took away from my family and general duties throughout the day, was adding up to way too much of what’s supposed to be a good thing. So I decided to simplify and delete Facebook and Twitter off my phone, while still keeping accounts active on my home computer. It’s been a little over a week, and I can already see the difference in a few areas of my life, both mentally and emotionally.
Here are 5 great things that happened when I took Facebook and Twitter off of my phone:
1. I’m less distracted
I read an article last week, on Facebook no less, that listed ways we as parents can help combat the constant problem of competing with the screen for our kid’s attention. To be perfectly honest though, I can see just as big of a problem in my own life, with my kids having to compete with the screen for my attention. Taking pictures for Instagram, editing and posting articles, and interacting with readers online is a BIG part of my “job,” and I explain that to my kids all the time when they’re talking at me while I’m working. The problem with this kind of work is that there’s not always a distinct boundary, and it’s often hard to separate “work” from just wasting time online. What I finally had to admit, and deal with, was that I was letting the endless stream of random articles and ice bucket challenge videos get in the way of my actual work. Taking these apps off of my phone has helped with that.
2. I have more time for family and my to-do list
Logging on for one minute here and there repeatedly throughout the day was adding up to big chunks of time I was losing to my phone, taking time away from folding clothes, cooking dinner, reading with my kids, and on and on. I’m slowly recapturing those little bits of time, which has led to more efficiency throughout the day.
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