Today I’m being honest.
Last Thursday, I spent 1 hour and 23 minutes scrolling through Instagram. It started with checking out my real-life friends status updates. Morphed into watching their stories, then searching for design inspiration and memes in peoples feeds I don’t even know. Before I knew it, I had spent all of my free time after work, and before my kids came home from school scrolling.
I felt sick.
Not sick physically, but sick at heart.
I looked around my house. Dishes were still in the sink. Phone calls from real friends were left unanswered. My Bible again sat unread on the bedside table. And honestly, I didn’t feel any better about myself. Nor what God has given me. I had nothing to show for my time spent on social media except regret.
I knew I was guilty of the very thing I have been telling my children not to do.
Have you been like me and done the same thing? You’ve told your children day after day to put down their phone, get off social media, and engage in real life? And yet when you have free time, the first thing you do is grab your phone and catch up on everything online.
I have discovered that as parents, we can struggle with social media and technology consumption just like our kids.
Social media can be a great tool – for building relationships, promoting businesses, and reading encouraging devotions, but it can also begin to dominate our minds when we use it excessively.
God does not want our lives to be full of comparison, discontent, and distraction. God wants us to set our minds on Him and what He says is true about us. He wants us engaged in real relationships and free to share Him with others. If social media is getting in the way of your relationship with God and causing your mind to be set on things other than the truth, then it is time to reevaluate how you use it, even as a parent.
Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable -if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about these things.”
This verse has reminded me to check myself in regards to my own social media scroll. Here are a few boundaries I have come up with to guide my social media scroll:
1. Read my Bible before checking social media each morning.
2. Set a timer in my phone apps for usage minutes. My timer on Instagram is for 30 minutes each day.
3. Unfollow anyone whose feed makes me question God’s truth, grace, and goodness in my life or others.
4. Plan for technology downtime each evening with the whole family, not just the kids.
Establishing these social media boundaries in my own life as a mom hasn’t been perfect. There are days when I still scroll a little too long, but these boundaries help remind me what goals I am aiming for in regards to social media use, and with God’s strength and grace I can try each day again to follow them.
Parents, its time to shorten your scroll. I challenge you to monitor how you are spending your time on social media and technology. We as parents might not be keeping a 3-day Snapchat stream going like our teens, but we might be spending hours on Facebook, ESPN, or Instagram. Use this week to apply Philippians 4:8 to your own social media and overall technology usage, apologize to your kids if needed, and set some new boundaries. I will be continuing to set my mind on what is true right alongside you, and I know we will all experience joy and freedom as we seek towards getting unstuck from the social media scroll!