I took the kids to get ice cream after school last week and left my phone inside the car because it was dead.
We brought the ice cream to our tables. After about 10 minutes, an employee went out of her way to approach me and tell me how refreshing it was to see a parent in the store actually engaging with their kids instead of ignoring them and being glued to the phone while the kids either sat alone or entertained each other.
I felt guilty saying “thank you” to the employee because I knew the truth.
That if my phone hadn’t been dead, I likely would have been there with it in the store checking emails, responding to text messages, and scrolling through my Facebook and Instagram feeds like what I was doing couldn’t wait until later.
It made me sick.
I have a love/ hate relationship with my phone and to social media. I admit I am addicted.
For what? Twenty years from now, I’ll miss the way my children were looking at me, interacting with each other, and what they were saying in the short time they were still little.
Things I missed because I was looking at the phone.
Social media is great for connecting us with friends and family, but it’s overall fake and a huge waste of time. Time you’ll never get back. But on the other side, the US Government monitoring what we do online, from what we share on social media to different accounts we create and more.
I have several friends who have deactivated their social media accounts. Not one of them regrets it or misses it. Sure, they’re off the proverbial grid, but who cares?
Believe it or not, I’ve seen instances through my job where social media has caused people to lose their lives when it’s not used carefully.
I’ve gathered the worst of the worst and compiled it into a surefire recipe for how to lose your own life.
Here you go:
Spend lots of time on social media when you could be doing something more productive. (E.g., playing with your kids, reading books, being outdoors, watching movies, or interacting with an actual human being.)
Post a picture and incessantly refresh your browser to see how many people “liked” and commented on it.
Get your feelings hurt by those who didn’t “like” or comment on your picture. After all, you assume they saw it because they, too, are a slave to social media and historically “like” and comment on everybody’s stuff. Even stuff they don’t legitimately “like.”
Passive-aggressively withhold “liking” or commenting on a picture, or even wishing someone a happy birthday to someone because they annoy you.
Spend so much time on social media that you get sucked into a rabbit hole. Vacation photos from former paramours, your third grade teacher’s new home in the mountains, and the guy who sat next to you in ninth grade Spanish who is in and out of prison and had his kids taken away by the state. Oh, and an hour has passed…
Get your feelings hurt when your friends are out somewhere together and you weren’t invited. When you confront them about it, your friends have to lie to you about the circumstances surrounding the event so your feelings don’t get hurt when in reality, you simply weren’t invited and it wasn’t personal.
See a couple’s pictures and assume they have the perfect marriage. That their home life is Camelot when in reality, they got in a huge fight minutes before the picture was snapped. Feel like your life is subpar compared to the fantasy life you created in your mind about this couple and their life.
In the evenings, roll over and ignore your spouse at bedtime because you’re too busy scrolling the social media news feed to pay attention to them. Miss out on hearing about what they did at work that day or what they want to do over the weekend. Make them feel like crap because you are choosing to check out other peoples’ lives over your own.
Become so attached to social media that you feel disconnected and “out of the loop” when you haven’t logged in for a while.
Read “friends” political memes and news articles and think about how much you hate them because you disagree with them. Bonus points for going back and forth with someone in a heated political debate. Even more bonus points if you’re related to that person or have known them for a long time. Super duper bonus points when the banter ruins your relationship with them. But you were “right” and, therefore, justified. Someone needed to set that person straight!
When you are doing things in the real world, become preoccupied with posting about it on social media. When you’re vacationing at the beach, order a cocktail in a pineapple so you can hold it underneath a palm tree in a picture and post it. When you’re enjoying a good time with your kids (and they are actually getting along), make them stand together for five minutes so you can get a perfect shot so you, again, can post it on social media. Don’t fully enjoy your kids’ school performance because you’re too busy videotaping it, again to post on social media. Essentially never be in the moment.
Add all these ingredients together and get a life that has passed you by. A life where there is no rewind button. A life where your kids cannot age in reverse and you can’t get the time back.
I, too, am guilty of some of these things. Let’s all try to do better.