Surviving without Facebook

IMG_0443

Many of us are connected to technology and its magical pull into the endless hallways of social media. It’s not unusual to hear people say they went to check something only to find themselves hours later still scrolling through their feed. Although there is a love/hate relationship with social media, there have been very few studies done on the actual effects social media has on us.

One area of social media that terrifies me is the use among teenagers. Being a teenager today is very different than it was 20 years ago. Teenagers used to exploit their freedom by staying out past curfew or running around the local mall with a group of friends. Today, their freedom is at arm’s length wrapped in social media. Whether it is posting photos, taking polls or snap chatting, social to them means online. Yet when they do get together, you find a room full of kids with their phones in hand.

I consider myself a passive Facebook user. I click like on pictures, I post pictures of my family but I will rarely post my opinion on anything. Despite considering myself a passive user, I find myself constantly checking Facebook for alerts on pictures I have posted or a new item posted in one of the pages that I follow. As silly as I feel saying this, if I don’t check the feed I feel anxiety of what I might have missed. I thought this might be a good time to step away and reassess my Facebook use.

5 Day Detox Off of Facebook

To start I have made a few adjustments to my phone:

  • Turned off all notifications on Facebook
  • Turned entire phone to grey scale
  • Increase practice of Mindfulness techniques to occupy my mind

Reasons for detox:

  • Spending too much time on Facebook
  • Takes focus off of more important things in my life
  • Why am I so concerned about what’s on Facebook?

Day 1

As soon as I woke up I immediately wanted to check Facebook. It has become such a habit when I turn off the alarm to check that I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I felt a feeling of frustration when I stopped myself. Have I really become this obsessed with Facebook or is it simply a routine that I follow? I directed myself to checking the weather and work emails before taking some deep breaths and stretching for the day. Once I got up and ready, I was waiting for the dog to finish his breakfast before taking a walk and without thinking went to click on Facebook. (This is ridiculous) I put my phone in my bag to make sure I didn’t touch it again before leaving for work. Throughout the day, I had to consciously remind myself not to try to look at Facebook. Every time I got an alert, my first reaction was to check to see if something new had come up. Even though I knew I had turned off all notifications on Facebook.

Day 2

This hasn’t gotten any easier and I am embarrassed at how many times I have found myself wanting to check Facebook. Not even aware I am doing it until I reach my social media folder on my phone. (Yes, I have a folder) I am still feeling frustrated and a little bit anxious that I have forbidden myself from checking. What do I really think I am missing?

Day 3

A very busy day today between work, shuttling to practices and laundry that I have had less of a chance to want to check in on Facebook. But once things settled down and I was in bed, I wanted so badly to get on Facebook. Instead of reading or actually going to sleep, I found myself in the rabbit hole of Pinterest. Another of my love-hate apps that I will fall into for hours. Looking up things I never have any intention of actually doing. Starting to think I need to have a full phone detox!

Day 4

This feels like a full-on withdrawal of an addiction. I was standing in line for my lunch at work, and I didn’t know what to do with myself. I just kept looking around my apps on my phone aimlessly while I waited. I couldn’t just stand there with my thoughts, I had to do something with my hands. It’s bizarre how I feel almost awkward without something to do with my hands as if I look out of place not on my phone to others. I started to look around and everyone waiting in line was on their phones. No one was talking to one another or smiling at people passing by. They were all nose to phone with the glare of their screens on their complexion.

Day 5

Ok I did it! Just get through today and I did it! But why am I so excited to finish and get back on Facebook. This doesn’t feel like a success but rather a realization that this is a problem. It will be interesting to see how I feel once I do login and turn back on my notifications. Will I have missed anything?

IMG_0444

What did I learn from my 5-day detox from Facebook? I learned that I don’t really need it. I learned that I am much more attached to the need to be on Facebook that I should be. Did I miss anything? Not really. I enjoy seeing my friends’ kids, pets and adventures it isn’t something that I need to be constantly checking throughout the day. I also realized that even though we are all tied to our phones every day, we all are itching for more real time interaction with each other. When I reached out to someone directly, they loved it. It led to let’s get together and feelings of happiness. We need to all reach out to each other and check in. Disconnect, its good for the soul.

The Scary World of Brain Hacking

shutterstock_674845978-1.jpg

Brain hacking is the programming used to get your addicted to feeling like you need to constantly check your phone. 

Whether I am checking email, text or how many likes I received on the first day of school pictures I posted, there is a feeling of anxiety. What did I miss? How many likes did I get? What is my next appointment? It’s a swirl of emotions and go, go, go. I feel like my day to day actions now revolve around the habit of checking my phone constantly.

About a year ago, I noticed my otherwise uninterested in her phone pre-teen suddenly become obsessed. We have a lot of restrictions on her phone but Snapchat is hard to monitor. I asked her what was so interesting on her phone as we sat down together and she explained “streaks” to me. It shows the number of days in a row that friends send messages back and forth. They become so obsessed with keeping the streak that her friends were giving each other their login information when they would go away to keep the streak going. What is “brain hacking”? Tech insiders on why you should care What is this madness? It was innocent enough but the obsession had taken a young lady from not really caring about her phone, to checking constantly. 

Besides creating gamification to get us hooked, data companies are also collecting information on how we use our phones. Based on our usage, we see more ads relevant to our searches. Although we are using social media for free, advertisers are paying a large amounts to make sure their ads are reaching the right market. For example, Facebook takes our data to keep giving us the news, shopping, real estate listing, etc. that we long for. This creates a constant black hole we fall into as we click an ad that comes into our feed. How Silicon Valley is erasing your individuality

I know how easily I fall into a google fox den when I need information. One search leads me to watching YouTube videos, searching Pinterest boards and posting on Facebook for advice. It turns from a few minutes to hours of scrolling. This has me thinking, was it my choice to keep clicking or did each action lead to another action because of what pops up? Was the next search my great idea or a programmer’s design to lead me to the next page? Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia

Untitled-1

Continue reading “The Scary World of Brain Hacking”

Tied to Technology

shutterstock_599713526-e1535858876543.jpg

We have become so dependent on our cell phones for everyday living that it has interrupted the connection we have with living. We use our phones for emails, photography, texts, navigation, booking trips… the list goes on. We can take a picture and have it instantly uploaded to multiple social networks in seconds. While we struggle with sharing our memories, we also struggling with being connected in the moment. For example, if we put our phones away during a family time, we might forget to capture the moment in picture to reflect on at a later date.

When we have our phones on us, we hear the ding of a new email or text and even through we may choose not to attend to it at that moment, we are distracted. We end up multitasking without being aware of it, saying we have to look at that message when we get to the car. Or start thinking was that work which could lead to making lists of to do’s when you get back home. When we have our phones on us or around us, even though we may not be actively on them, we are not fully disconnected. Its a daily struggle to manage being in the moment and being connected.

In research it is shown that our cell phones effect our cognitive abilities when the phone is near us. If put away from us, it is better, if put in another room it is best. Just the presence of our phones can effect our ability to think and problem solve even when not in use. The ringing of the phone can boost anxiety when you are not able to reach it but hear it. To truly disconnect, we need to leave our phones at home but the separation can also cause anxiety. Having Your Smartphone Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking

The constant connection with technology has led us to forget how to truly absorb information we receive. We skim articles, forgetting what we read minutes earlier because we hear an alert for a message or start to thinking about the next thing to do. In order to fully understand, learn and absorb information or taking in moments we have to be able to concentrate without distracts such as our phones. Without the distractions we can fully take in the knowledge we need to complete one task and give it our full attention with less time and higher productivity. This can be with work, school or personal life. I have forgotten how to read