In the previous article, Dorothy explored our God-given need to meaningfully connect with others. Though social media purports to help us engage, it’s ultimately a pale substitution for actual face time.
Social media apps are counterfeits. Their sophisticated designs understand and capitalize on our deeper needs without actually meeting those needs. As tech designers have admitted, Facebook and other social media sites were created with a profound awareness of our tendency to become addicted. Though social media use is far less stigmatized than other forms of addiction, what’s true of one addiction is true across the board: addictions promise us everything, but in the end, only manipulate, disappoint, and leave us wanting more.
As tech designers have admitted, Facebook and other social media sites were created with a profound awareness of our tendency to become addicted.
According to current statistics, adults spend between ninety minutes and four hours per day on social media or playing computer games. If you’re spending that much time every day online, according to author Sherry Turkle, “there’s got to be someplace that you’re not. And that someplace you’re not is often with your friends and family.” As she stated in a recent TED Talk, “We’re letting [social media] take us in directions that we don’t want to go. These little devices not only change what we do, but who we are.”
"If you’re spending that much time every day online," according to author Sherry Turkle, “there’s got to be someplace that you’re not. And that someplace you’re not is often with your friends and family.”
If we’re honest, many of us would admit that it’s quite difficult to curtail any type of addictive behavior. Social scientists, researchers, and psychologists agree and are becoming more vocal in encouraging us to be more mindful of and limit our electronic device usage.
Here are a few suggestions that will move you in the direction of breaking free from dependence on social media and your handheld devices so that you can meaningfully connect with your friends and family.
As I mentioned in part one of this article, social media has tremendous potential to connect us with friends and family, but it can also be counter-productive and addictive. We can't give so much time to the easily controlled, less vulnerable virtual relationships that we have no space for the messier but more satisfying flesh and blood friendships. God created us as relational beings. Ultimately, we must turn off the computer or put down our phones so that others can know and love us.
Dorothy Littell Greco spends her days writing and speaking about how following Jesus changes everything. She is married to Christopher and together they have three sons and one amazing daughter-in-law. Dorothy’s writing regularly appears in Relevant Magazine, Christianity Today, Start Marriage Right, The Mudroom, and many other publications. You can find more of her work on her website, or by following her on Twitter (@dorothygreco)