Why I Probably Need to Deactivate My Facebook Account
Hello. I am Meki and I am a social media addict.
I never realized how hooked I was with social media until my phone gave up on me (RIP) and I had to live without a smartphone for the past week. Before the demise of my phone, I’d say that I was on Facebook 75% of the day. The funny thing was that I knew that I was addicted. I even uninstalled my Facebook app in the hopes of lessening my attachment. I assumed that if it would require more effort to get to Facebook (having to open the browser, go to Facebook.com, and log-in to my account), I’d end up not accessing it all the time–because you know, that’s way too time-consuming. Boy, was I wrong. I was still as addicted.
In the morning, it was already my natural tendency to look for my phone upon waking up. I’d go through notifications and my news feed even before washing my face. While eating my lunch, my phone is by my side and I take a peek every moment just to see if something new comes up. Even during my prep time for work, I have my phone in hand (yes, until the bathroom) and I search for random people who come into mind, checking out what’s the latest in their lives. At work, I go on Facebook a bit less–’cause I actually have to work–but I have one tab of it open, just in case of notifications. Oh, and I also go on Facebook via my phone when I walk to meetings or to the restroom. I still go online upon reaching home, and do a last scroll through my news feed (as if it’s a bedtime story) before I finally snooze.
I remember Lent 2013 when a colleague of mine shared that she’s giving up Facebook for Lent. Her reason? It causes her to ‘sin’. I laughed at the thought at first but I realize now that I makes complete sense. My being too attached with social media has been very detrimental to my emotional and spiritual growth, and here are three specific ways that I’ve observed:
1. Social media makes me compare.
I don’t know about you but my news feed is often filled with pictures of couples, weddings and babies, or announcements of engagements, career success or weight loss. Whenever I go online, I end up comparing myself to these people–thinking about how ‘lucky’ they are for the big breaks that they are getting when in fact we are all just of the same age. I don’t usually say it out loud but I am usually filled with envy, wishing that I had the comforts of other people (e.g. rich family, personal driver, no eldest child responsibilities, etc) so that I can be more risky and adventurous as they are. I end up discontented with what I have–wanting more, wanting something better. I think I’ve used #goals far more than the acceptable number over the last 6 months because of that. While this “envy” can just be a form of motivation when managed properly, mine turns into plain bitterness to the point of me even having evil thoughts and judgment towards others–and that includes girlfriends of ex-flames or crushes. Sorry.
2. Social media makes me want to brag
While I proudly don’t use #blessed, I know that I still do some humble-bragging online.
“So full, just finished eating @ insert-expensive-resto-here with @coolfriend1 @coolfriend2”
Just that simple post could express two humble-brag moments: (1) that I’m informing the world that I can eat in an expensive resto (I’m not a cheapskate), and (2) that I have cool friends who you probably wish could be your friends too.
Related to #1, when feeling insecure after all that I see on my news feed, I end up wanting to show off and exaggerate in aspects that I can blow-up. I never admitted it to myself in the past but I think that I try to maintain an “I’m smart and cool” vibe for my online persona. I remember a time in the past when I’d delete a post if it didn’t get enough reaction from my friends. It was all about image and perception, which can only be manipulated by not-so-subtly parading the things that I do in my life. Compare that to just remaining meek and humble, and thinking less of self and more of others.
3. Social media robs me of my quiet time
With all the time I spend comparing my social media self to the social media equivalent of my friends and carefully crafting each item that I’ll post, you guessed it right — I make very little time for QT with the Lord. When I read the Bible, I use my reading plan on my phone as reference and it’s just to tempting (and I usually give in) whenever I hear that Facebook notification. The time that I could have just spent learning about what God’s message is for me that day, I’d spend browsing through old messages from friends and crushes.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that social media is purely evil. My concern is just on how much we allow it to control our lives. I know that it’s taken over mine, and that I need to do something about it. It’s such a cliche, but it is true that too much of a good thing can be bad. My challenge now then is for you to ask yourself:
How has social media affected my walk? Does it lead me closer to the Lord? Does it cause me to be at peace with myself and with others?
I’m not proud of my answers to those questions, but I know I will be held accountable since I’ve already been corrected and prompted by the Holy Spirit to correct my behavior. Will I ever permanently delete my Facebook account? Probably not. I’m a sentimental person and I enjoy browsing through old posts and photos as if reading a journal. Will I deactivate my Facebook account? If that is what it takes for me to commit better to a social media fast (if I do start one again) or to lessen the urge to go online 24/7, then I am willing to.
For everything in the world–the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does–comes not from the Father but from the world. – 1 John 2:16