I recently asked my 13-year-old son if he could cope without his social media for a month.. his answer? “No way!” When I was 13 I was making friendship bracelets and shrinking crisp packets in the oven!
The Royal Society for Public Health are asking for a ‘Scroll Free September’, a cull on social media for one month.
I understand why as it can take over your life. After my five children are settled for the night, I go to bed and then nip onto Facebook for a couple of minutes to have a look at all the brain-numbing posts featuring cups of coffee or someone’s dinner (why people think others may be interested in their chicken and rice or Starbucks latte is beyond me). Two hours later I’m looking at skateboarding dogs in Dubai and people jumping out of cars singing.
We also all have that ‘one friend’ on Facebook who likes to be cryptic, posting nothing but “angry” or “feeling sad”. You then spend the next half an hour scrolling through their post comments trying to find out why, only to read that they have replied ‘PM me, babe’, not answering the question as to why they posted their status in the first place!
Social media is like a black hole that sucks you in, you scroll and click, scroll and click and the next thing you know you’re looking at a strangers holiday pictures in Australia. I really do think it is addictive. I often find myself popping on my phone to check my banking and that little blue square with the dreaded white ‘F’ has a notification on. I try with all my might to ignore, I’ve not got time to look, but its like a drug, I start sweating trying to resist the urge, my brain says “no” but my thumb is hovering over the blue square ready to attack. I can’t do it…I need to know who commented or liked one of my pictures. Facebook 1, self control 0.
I’m not sure how Mr Zuckerburg has managed to create something with such a strong, silent brainwashing ability, but he has, and its taken over; people now live through social media. He has stopped people physically talking to each other, (not to mention that we all have one thumb that is now slightly fatter than the other) through his invention. I wonder what he – Mr Facebook himself – would think to us all having a Scroll Free September??
The thought of not being able to look at my social media, lose myself in a vortex of inane rubbish, fake celeb stories and annoying American videos of fat hillbillies chopping wood, sends a shiver down my spine. These rectangle pieces of touch screen genius have become a part of us as much as our own limbs.
As I blog online, I would find it very hard to give it up for a month as I love my work. My children would wonder if Mummy was ill, or if she had broken her phone!
Prior to starting my blog, I did actually take two months off social media at the beginning of the year. It really was actually quite liberating. It was hard at first but then I found I had that little bit more time to play with or just sit with my kids and actually watch a programme, instead of pretending too while having one eye on my phone. We’ve all sat down to watch TV, only to spend the whole half hour, tapping and scrolling on our media, with only one eye on the programme. I had more time to do bits around the house, and my phone only needed charging once a day, instead of the usual four, so it was energy saving too; my thumbs also got a rest from constant movement!
Many people’s careers are now solely reliant on online promotions and advertising through social media. As a blogger and online writer, people can only see my work through the world of social media, so would I be happy if the whole world stopped scrolling for a month? Probably not!
But this afternoon myself and my children have promised to put down our glowing rectangles of addictiveness and I will be introducing them to the joys of shrinking crisp packets in the oven. The best bit about it is they have to eat the contents first!!
- Rachael Foster is a single mum to five children and lives in Netherfield. You can read her popular blog about parenting at www.yummymummy-5.co.uk