If the word addiction comes into a conversation or to our minds, we typically think of alcoholism, drugs, or pornography. These seem to be the “Big 3” if you will of addictions and arguably there is nothing wrong with that perspective. These particular vices certainly do have the highest profile in society and are most often the focus of rehab clinics, books, and counseling efforts.
What I have come to realize in my own life and home is there is another sinister addictive behavior that largely goes unnoticed. That addiction is namely how so many are chained to social media. What concerns me most and again I am speaking from recent experiences in my own home of late is how social media addiction turns us into loners, people who remove themselves from meaningful personal interaction in favor of Pokemon Go, Facebook, Twitter, or the latest app craze.
Why is this such a big deal? Am I against technology? Is this going to be a rant against the evils of Facebook and related social media? Absolutely not. I firmly believe such technologies should and can be leveraged for not just sharing the truth of Scripture, but also for much-needed relaxation and downtime. Want to play an app? Go for it! Want to decompress and have a Netflix binge? Go for it.
Here in lies the problem and this is an issue with most anything in life. Humanity has a tendency to have no clue when to stop something. We are an addictive people. While most of us are not addicted to alcohol or drugs, most if not all of us, have areas in our lives that we have allowed to take control in a negative way.
Let me provide a little assistance in determining if you have fallen prey to social media addiction:
- When you go out to dinner with your family, do you spend more time checking the sports app, refreshing Facebook, or firing off a Tweet than having a conversation with your spouse and/or children about their life?
- When you come home from work, do you sit down on the couch to check Facebook before saying hello to your spouse and children and/or giving them a hug and kiss?
- When you go to bed, do you pull out your Kindle or iPad to watch several Netflix shows instead of having a talk with your spouse?
- Do you neglect interaction with your spouse and/or children in favor of responding to that Facebook forum post in order to correct someone’s clearly errant theology?
Okay…I admit it. I am guilty of all of those situations far more than I would like to admit. I am guilty of all four on a daily basis. Quite honestly, social media addiction is allowing this helpful tool to lord itself over my life.
Moreover, this addiction as with any addiction causes relationship chaos. As I noted earlier, social media addiction is a bit more sinister in that it is not as evident all of the time as say an addiction to drugs. However, it is a deleterious addiction nonetheless that can cause serious damage over time or even immediately if left unchecked.
What is more important, making a Facebook or Twitter post or listening to your spouse and children? What is more lasting in life, the latest app craze that is here today and gone tomorrow or investing time and energy in loving God and others by being a godly spouse and parent? Can that post wait or does it even need to be made at all? Isn’t time and I mean quality time with your family the biblically commanded focus that far supersedes social media?
This addiction is hard to break. In our family, we have come to the realization we all have fallen prey this pernicious issue. As a family, we have made a resolution to wean ourselves off a focus on social media and the devices that provide such content. As a replacement, we have committed ourselves to family activities, things as simple as taking a walk together, going roller skating, finding ways to get involved in our community. You know….things we as a society used to do on a regular basis.
If you find yourself suffering from social media addiction, the time for rehab and recovery is now. In my home, we have turned off the devices and are spending time actually communicating and interacting with one another on a meaningful, personal basis. It is what God demands, it is absolutely necessary, and in the end, when we are obedient to what God desires, good things will result.
Will you join me in assessing your addiction to social media and make the necessary changes in your life?