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I just got my very first Iphone – and it was nice enough to inform me how long I spent on social media the first day I used it.
Wow, that was a rude awakening.
Wayyyyyy to many hours.
I have a feeling I am not alone.
If you are like me, you know that we look at our phones more than we should – and although we don’t want to give them up entirely, we want to be present and attentive to the people and gifts that are with us in the real world more than the virtual world.
Although I’m still trying to find and embrace the right balance, I want to share some strategies that have really worked for me when I implement them.
Ways to decrease social media use and be more present
1. Take a moment to pray before you go on any social media platform.
Before getting the new phone, I changed my lock screen from a picture of my husband and son to a new prayer.
This is a prayer that I wrote and Sara, from To Jesus Sincerely, designed for our work over at CatholicsOnline.net.
This lock screen/wallpaper is totally free. I can honestly say it made a difference on the amount of time I spent online and made me more aware of the time I spent on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
There were times when I picked up my phone, saw the prayer and thought . . . what am I doing, I need to be doing (fill in the blank) not looking at my phone. Just the image of the prayer gave a moment to process what I was doing. It’s crazy, I pick it up subconsciously and this prayer “woke me up” a few times.
Other times I would pray the prayer, go on, and notice I wouldn’t stay on as long as I had in the past.
I need to get it on my new phone ASAP.
I created this because I know there were many times I have been on Facebook and something was posted that changed my emotional state so much it actually impacted my entire day.
That shouldn’t happen. Saint John of the Cross, Padre Pio and Saint Teresa Avila all have quotes that tell us to not let anything disturb our peace!
We need to remember this. I need to remember this. Taking a moment to open our minds and hearts to Our Lord before entering the social media world allows us to be guided by the Holy Spirit while we are there.
2. Use strategies to stay off the gram, Facebook, etc.
I often put my phone upstairs when I am downstairs (or vice versa). I also use a timer where I tell myself, “you need to do the dishes, clean the kitchen and blah blah blah” for this amount of time WITHOUT looking at your phone. (Now you know – I’m an addict).
These strategies work for me. I’ve also talked to others about what they do. Recently, Chloe Langr interviewed Sara and I on her Letters to Women podcast.
The topic, A Letter to the Woman Navigation Social Media today, allowed me to hear what strategies both Chloe and Sara use.
Sara mentioned some of her strategies include:
- Turning off notifications on your phone.
- Setting alarms on your phone for “times to pray”.
- Putting social media apps inside of folders.
- Using an app that limits social media usage*
*If that last one interests you, here is an article I thought looked helpful: 7 Best Apps That Block Social Media On iPhone And Android
This episode is filled with great conversations about social media and our role as Catholics on social media.
Also, this post 3 Ways to Unplug might give you more ideas too.
3. Use social media in a way that promotes the greater good
Social media can be a good thing! It’s fun, it keeps us connected and there is great potential to love and be a witness to our faith. But, it’s also still very new.
Take a good look at who you are called to be on social media.
For many of us, our day to day lives for years did not have social media as a part of our daily schedule.
We can’t think back to when our parents gave us the “social media” talk. Is that even a thing now? I honestly don’t know. What I do know is that tweens and teens everywhere are asking for smart phones and social media privileges.
I also know it’s stressing parents out – and rightfully so. A recent news article stated
Statistics show one out of every five teens has been contacted by a child predator online”
( Read the full article here: Dangerous Social Media Apps Kids are Using . . .)
Also check out How to Get Your Tech Loving Teen to Prayer Journal
There are concerns that it causes more anxiety and like video game addiction, it can be problematic. And on top of all these worldly concerns, there is a matter of faith. How does social media use effect our souls – or does it at all.
I propose that it very much impacts our souls – and like Chris Pratt once said, “You have a soul, be careful with it.”
It is our responsibility that we do so. Being aware of this led to the creation of the course: How to be a Good Catholic on Social Media
How to be a Good Catholic on Social Media
Are you living out your Faith online?
This course is a perfect introduction to healthy, holy social media use for teens and young adults, and a much-needed reminder for people of all ages.
Learn the ins-and-outs of virtuous social media use through instructional videos and the accompanying printable workbook. Reflect on the application questions to help you put your Catholic Faith into practice online. Take this course by yourself, with a friend, or as a parent-child team to help your teen get a safe start to social media.
All materials are digital and available immediately upon purchase.
Perhaps this summer we should skip the parish book club and invite a small group to take this course together.
Maybe moms and dads who keep hearing “mom, I want my own phone. I want snapchat. I should be allowed on Instagram . . . etc.” could say, “okay, let’s make a deal. You want to go on social media, you have to take this course first.”
If you want to purchase the course, use the coupon code LaunchSpecial (good until Sunday, June 16th) for 20% off.
I love that this course will most likely spark conversations that families should be having . . . but just don’t realize it.
Although it is brand new, some people were given the chance to preview it. This is what some of them had to say about “How to be a Good Catholic on Social Media”:
Outstanding course! I feel confident my teenage son has the tools from this course to make proper decisions on social media.Sara is a very good teacher,and makes it easy to understand the lessons! Thank you Sara!
What an EXCELLENT course! It really is a perfect outline for healthy, holy social media use. This course was a good refresher for me as an adult. I will definitely be coming back for this course when my children are old enough and going through it with them 🙂
How do you manage social media use? What are some ways social media helps you to be a better Christian? Tell us in the comments!
And speaking of using social media . . . I would love to connect with you on Facebook (Prayer Wine Chocolate); Pinterest (Prayer Wine Chocolate) and Instagram (Prayer Wine Chocolate)