What I learnt from my 6 month Social Media detox 📱

It was difficult!

At times I literally felt myself in withdrawal.

I made a list to remove unhelpful things from my life.

It looked a little something like this:

  • Alcohol.
  • Meat (Ethical reasons).
  • Toxic People
  • Social Media
  • Jobs that I no longer enjoyed

etc…

Social Media was actually one of the worst. A clear sign I had an addiction. And I’d consider myself a moderate user!


Like most Millennials; Social Media has infiltrated my life. Admittedly I’m more of a Social Media Voyeur than a Poster… but I do go through phases where my virtual friends are probably bombarded with my posts. Sorry!

I’ve even tried removing myself from the online forums but constantly felt like I was missing out on everything. There seems to be an unwritten rule that you are some how ‘outside’ if you don’t use Social Media. Even work expects you to be virtually ‘present’.

During my detox I witnessed the corruption of Facebook, and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Law take effect. This makes me feel so much safer because it gives everyone the right to ‘disappear’.

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Negative Aspects of Banning Social Media:

  • Constantly feeling like you’re missing out on something.
  • Losing work… especially if you’re Freelance.
  • Losing ‘Virtual Friends / Followers’.
  • Missing out on events.
  • People getting irritated because they think you’re ignoring them.
  • Unable to share news on a large scale.
  • Not being able to keep up with recent news about what people are up to.
  • Having access to larger amount of people to talk to.
  • Reconnecting with people from the past.
  • Not being able to Virtually Network.

Positive Aspects of Banning Social Media:

  • Having ‘A LOT’ more free time.
  • Feeling like you don’t have to compete or compare with others.
  • Feeling more present in my own life.
  • Building stronger connections with my true friends.
  • Concentration improved.
  • Being more satisfied with my own life.
  • Getting more things done.
  • Actually physically meeting people instead of hiding behind a Virtual Avatar.
  • Less lonely.
  • More peaceful.

As you can see Social Media obviously has it’s good points. Especially for work. I don’t think it’s detrimental to your business not to have Social Media but it does have it’s advantages. On the contrary having to find work the old fashioned way has helped me build more authentic contacts as I find on Social Media you can convince people you’re whoever you want to be; which means more Bullsh*ters.

One thing I also realised was that a lot of people who were on the verge of ‘stardom’ disappeared. As soon as I logged out I didn’t really see them anywhere, it was all online. This is not a dig as I know there’s lot’s of famous Vloggers whose main platform is Social Media. It was just an observation.


I still want to create a business and work in a Freelance capacity just in a different area.

How do I do this without conforming to the addiction?

Boundaries.

Looking at the list Pro and Against Social Media I can see it’s healthier to be offline. I still want that level of satisfaction and gratitude for my life without falling into that all too tempting spiral of Compare and Despair.

A few years ago I decided not to stalk ex’s as it just ended up annoying me, and you can’t really see what’s real as like everyone they put up their ‘best life’. Though annoyingly this doesn’t stop them contacting me out the blue! I really don’t like it! I don’t like how Social Media provides a way for them to see what I’m up to. I’ve done the whole ‘blocking’ them on every app, but they still find a way to contact me online. It creeps me out to be honest. Should have put that on the list!

Sorry went on a bit of a rant. Back to more important issues … Boundaries!

So as I mentioned I do think it’s useful to have Social Media in you’re life especially if you’re a Freelancer.

But let’s not forget there’s darker side of the internet.

It’s believed 87 million were affected by the Facebook Scandal. Information about users was purposely divulged without the users consent.

It’s also been suspected that Social Media hacks the microphone in your mobile to listen into your private conversations in order to pick up on keywords. The theory is they do this so they can target you with suspiciously specific advertisements. Not sure if this is true or not.

But check this out.

And what’s scarier is that if you have open privacy or accept requests from people you don’t really know then it could be someone more dangerous than a stupid ex watching you.

I know a lot of my friends post proud pictures and video’s of their children running around having fun just being a kid; sometimes in their bikini or PJ’s. And it’s great they want to share these cherished moments with friends and family. But be aware you are putting these pictures on the internet. ANYONE can get hold of these pictures even if you are being cautious.

Million’s of video’s are shared each day containing abuse of a person who is underaged. And that’s only one’s that we know of, which actually sends chills down my spine.

Blake Lively is an Ambassador for Child Rescue Coalition and this is what she had to say.

DISCLAIMER: Please note some of the issues she talks about are disturbing.

I’m not pointing this out to upset anyone. I just want children and parents to be safe. That’s what I’d want for my child, and any parent I know would want the same.

Here’s my tips on using Social Media safely and constructively:

Safe:

  • Instead of putting pictures online. Maybe create a WhatsApp group with Friends and Family where a large group of people can see pictures of you child. This is what a friend of mine does.
  • But if you do want to upload make sure you know everyone on your Network. I’d say something like Facebook is easier to use as with Instagram/ Twitter anyone can follow you. Unless you have a locked account.
  • Make your account private.
  • Steer clear of uploading pictures of your children in bikini’s or anything like that. There are predators out there and they are very smart and will be drawn to pictures like this. Unfortunately this is the world we live in.
  • Be careful of checking in. This could encourage stalking or for people to know you’re not at your home to protect it.
  • Personal details… emails, phone numbers…. credit card details! Keep it to yourself.
  • If your child has their own account. Be aware of who their talking to. Predators often disguise themselves as the same age as your child. And what’s scary is that predators can also be young. So it’s difficult to distinguish.
  • They can also coerce your child … making the child besotted with them. So be aware for any behavioural changes in your child when they use Social Media.
  • Check on the types of photo’s they are posting. It may seem innocent to them but maybe catnip to a predator.
  • If you’re dating online. Make sure you properly research the person, ask around if you have mutual friends. Let a friend know where you will be if you meet up with this online person. Because most of the time they are a complete stranger.

Again I’m not just trying to be dark. I genuinely think Social Media can be fun, but let’s not be naïve.

Constructive:

  • It’s easy to scroll and scroll and then realise 4 hours have gone by. If you are going to scroll one tip that helped me was to set a timer. Therefore you can moderate the time you’re on it without wasting too much time.
  • Write a list of what you need to do online and do it. It’s the prerogative of Social Media to distract you. You’re about to do something then something else pops up with pretty pictures then you’ve fallen down the rabbit hole of online timewasting.
  • Research people who could help your business, write down their name/details then log off. See is you can email them directly or If you have to message them online do it then log off. Don’t sit there and wait for a reply, it’s too temping to scroll.
  • With Facebook there’s a separate app ‘Messenger’ which you can use to just talk to people without physically going onto Facebook. There’s nothing more depressing then going online and seeing you have a tonne of notifications only to realise it’s all irrelevant.
  • Post what you need to and log off. Don’t wait for a comment or keep checking. This creates ‘Validation Seeking’ which is harmful to your self esteem.
  • With my Blog I’ve found a way to connect my posts to my Social Media. So it means I don’t have to physically go on each site and post. The blog posts it on all these platforms for me, so it prevents me from going online and checking. Obviously it’s nice to see comments but no comment has been that miraculous it’s worth losing my inner peace for. The checking is a compulsion that must be controlled; otherwise it controls you.
  • If you really can’t control your need for Social Media. I would suggest a cold turkey ban. I know it feels like you’ve gone to live on Mars but I promise you, you’re rarely missing much.
  • Get a friend to post for you. Therefore you can’t indulge.
  • Have a purpose. Write down all the things in your life that are suffering because of your online addiction. Maybe there’s a book you can’t seem to finish. Or an unfinished project etc…
  • Delete Apps and always be logged out. This will make it more difficult to just log in as you have to go through the hassle of going to the website, typing in your password etc…

So my post went a slightly different direction from what I expected it to. But nevertheless I felt it was an important message to convey.

I would recommend anyone who is worried about an addiction to Social Media to give yourself a limited break. Make sure you have a set date when you can go back on … trust me it will make the withdrawal easier. Let people who you want to keep in contact with know what you are doing, or you could even announce it in your status. Depending how you feel.

I would really recommend it. After the initial shock I felt so much happier and felt I could easily never log in again. It was interesting as soon as I started flirting with the idea of being virtually present that obsessive, compulsive side started wanting more and more. So this is why I’ve had to have strict boundaries to ensure I stay present in my actual life instead of my virtual one. And share my life with people who I want in my life instead of a load of strangers.

Hope you enjoyed my post. If you would like to read more articles like this please make sure you subscribe to my blog to read my latest posts.

Stay safe!

Warmest Regards

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1 Comment

  1. June 27, 2018 / 11:23 am

    [ Smiles ] I salute you for participating in a 6 month social media detox.

    In my case, I use social media to promote my blog posts.

    And, I am not addicted to social media.

    Believe it or not, I do not use social media apps on my smartphone. I only have the WordPress app on it (Services like Twitter and Pinterest are accessed via my laptop computer).

    Thank you for sharing what you have learned.

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