Dr. Mark Chamberlain’s Taping on KSL Studio 5

When does Social Media Savvy Cross the Line into Obsession?

Cathy remembers the moment she woke up to the downside of her Instagram immersion. It was at her nine year-old daughter, Megan’s, soccer game. When everyone else cheered, Cathy looked up from her phone to see Megan pump her arms in a victory V. “As Megan caught my eye, I gave her a thumbs up. It would be my little secret that I missed her goal because I’d gotten sucked in by that notification ping.”

It’s fun to catch up with friends, unwind and relax. We can even use social media to further our career.

But we’ve all found ourselves wasting time on social media. We know that bitter aftertaste that comes after a binge.

Some Benefits of Scaling Back

Family balance. We invite other family members to limit their own screen time if we walk the walk.
Better posture. Avoid the documented dangers of text neck.
Better sleep. Too much screen time interferes with both our ability fall asleep and to drop into the most restful stages of sleep.
Less anxiety. Immersion in technology ratchets up our stress.
More happiness and satisfaction. We get a break from all the comparing and longing for what we don’t have.
Better love life. If a TV in the bedroom cuts couples’ lovemaking in half, as one Italian study found, then what’s bound to happen when it’s not just one big screen but some little screens getting in the way as well?

Instead of Your Usual Tech Fix…

1. Breathe. Take two or three nice full breaths. Try doing it right before check your phone throughout an entire day. It helps stretch out the space between the urge and the response.
2. Feel. You might just feel the awkwardness that comes with breaking any habit. If your habit is super-entrenched you might feel some withdrawal symptoms. Settle into your boredom. Allow yourself to feel anxious.
3. Move. Take a walk. Your body and brain will thank you, instead of still feeling antsy the way they so often do after a tech fix.
4. Connect. Before there was live chatting, there were real life chats; enjoy more of those. Hug someone, give a foot rub, ask for a back scratch.
5. Express. Don’t give in to the urgency, give it voice. Let the Instagram junkie in you rant about why she needs to look so often and how great it feels to get those likes. Get the urgency out of your system by talking to yourself as you take a walk or writing out your yearnings and hankerings.

Take the Challenge–Do a 15-day Tech Cleanse!

Most people do better with a cleanse than a complete fast. Especially for moms, it’s hard to drop completely off the face of the Electronic universe.

If you’re going to do it, don’t just try a little harder to use your phone a little less. Your screen time will quickly balloon back up. Instead, tell friends and family you’ll going to take a break by cutting WAY back for a couple of weeks, and then do it. Better yet, challenge others to do it with you.

You might keep track of your time on your phone with an app like Moment and have a contest with your kids to see who can use electronics the least.

If, somehow, you manage to survive, we’d love to hear back from you in a couple of weeks about how it went and what you discovered. Studio 5 is considering running a follow up segment, so your input would be greatly appreciated!

© 2015 Mark Chamberlain, PhD

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