Joslyn (not her real name) is so absorbed in social media that she often leaves her children to fend for themselves. While she is often in the same room with them, she is miles away posting about her life while life is rushing past her.
Her smartphone goes to bed with her and to the bathroom with her. She may or may not know where her children are, but she knows exactly what her friends had for lunch or what her girlfriend thinks of the latest movie.
Joslyn isn't a composite or imaginary figure. She is a real woman in an increasingly common situation. She can't put her phone down. Life on Facebook is easier and cleaner. If Joslyn doesn't like a post, she moves on to the next page. In Social Media life is all about her and her needs. In life she has to share focus.
There is another factor keeping Joslyn glued to her smartphone. Social media is addicting. Live Science, in a limited study, reported that the regions of our brain most involved in impulsive behavior react in the same fashion as they do when exposed to cocaine.
However, there is hope. Social media addictions, as per Medical Daily, are "a combination of biological, psychological, social, and cultural factors." Good news as many of these can be affected by conscious changes in our behavior.
Breaking the social media habit can be done by taking positive, deliberate action. Here are a few steps to break the social media habit.
Understand that you may have a problem. Admitting you have a problem is not half the battle by the way. You have work to do. Start by monitoring how much time you spend online. Set limits on your time spent on social media.
Out of sight, out of mind
Set your phone on a shelf — a high shelf. Set the devise to a status that will ring for calls received and not for new postings or alerts. Leave it on the shelf, and it will cut down on your tendency to pull it out and look at it in the small minute breaks.
Schedule your time
Set a time of day to use social media. Facebook and the like can be entertaining and productive. Decide how much entertainment you need, and how much is counterproductive. What are you missing or ignoring while you are online?
Put people with a pulse first. The phone should be off when someone else is in the room. It used to be considered poor manners to carry on conversations that didn't involve others around you. News flash — it still is. Try sitting with your loved one and carry on a conversation while they are updating his or her status. Not fun. So, focus on the living. Get to know people by doing things with them.
If your concern is that you don't have anything better to do, then get something better to do. Become proficient in something that has nothing to do with social media. Paint, exercise, pay bills, create a small business utilizing your social media skills, or something else that uses Facebook for good. Color with your kids. Fill your life with reality, not virtual things.
Keep realistic expectations
Remember that real people are messy, and life is easy on a Facebook post. Adjust your expectations. Those kids on Instagram, the ones with peanut butter spread all over themselves sitting on the damask covered chair, are so darn cute. They are cute because you can scroll to the next page and forget about them. In real life the kids are yours and you get to spend the next two hours cleaning up after them.
You can actually create that dinner that looks good on Pinterest to feed your family, but remember that even something as simple as dinner will look much better online than coming out of your oven. Involving your own kitchen, actual ingredients and real people will always be unpredictable. But that's where the fun really starts.