Facebook Addiction: Disconnect to Reconnect or Healthily Connected?

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Why is it so hard to “unplug”? Why is it so hard to tear my fingers from my touchscreen keyboard and my eyes from the Facebook news feed? What is so intriguing about social media and specifically, Facebook, that makes it so hard for me to disassociate from it?

Hello. My name is Nicole and I am a Facebook addict. I struggle to go two minutes into conversation without picking up my phone to check for updates. What is this doing to my relationships you ask? Nothing blatantly obvious or dooming. What IS happening is that I am missing out on all of the “good” of the present  moment. Its like instead of paying attention to what is happening right where I am, I look to Facebook for some huge virtual payoff.  

What kind of payoff would Facebook provide me? When did this become such a problem for me? I’ll tackle the latter part of that question first.

My addiction to Facebook started around the time had my first child back in 2011. As a stay-at-home mom for the past three years and presently with three children under the age of five, I use Facebook to keep my sanity. Keep my sanity? I know what you are thinking–someone that is constantly tuning out of her own life must not be sane, must be unhappy or needing to “escape”. Well, in my case, you would be incorrect.

I am uber content with my life. I feel so truly blessed to have a spouse that loves me and three gorgeous children, who are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. I also know how incredibly lucky I am to be able to stay at home with them. That being said, being a homemaker can be stressful, isolating and, at times, monotonous. On a particularly boring, challenging or activity-filled day, regularly checking social media is like a restroom break for me–a quick trip to Facebook town and I feel a little release and then refreshed. 

Here’s are the ways that I use Facebook in a healthy way:

  1. To Picture Share: The main way in  which I use the site is to post pictures of my children. There is something about sharing  pictures of those three little nuggets that bring so much joy and happiness. I feel so truly blessed to be their mother. I think that they are so amazing, that I enjoy putting them out there for the world to see. For me, it is my way of shouting from the rooftops just how much I love them.
  2. For Adult Interaction/Conversation: I use Facebook to feel like I have more adult connection and conversation then I actually get on a daily basis. I do not have too many close friends and do not have any co-worker interaction. As a result, perusing my newsfeed and catching up on other peoples’ status updates allows for me to feel like I am surrounded by other adults, at least for that moment. 
  3.  For Emotional Support: Although  I do not make very personal posts on my own Facebook page, other people do. This helps me when my days are particularly challenging. Reading a friends’ status helps to know that other people are dealing with some of the same struggles that I am. Sometimes I will be even lucky enough for them to post how they are dealing or coping with whatever the issue is; this becomes food for thought for me on handling my own situation.
  4. For Motivation: I find Facebook can  be a great motivator. A lot of times I will feel inspired by a post or a quote by a friend or even a picture of them looking super fit at the gym.
  5. To Expand My Interests: Browsing Facebook helps me to expand my interests. With so many Facebook “friends” there are often articles posted by others about topics that I wouldn’t normally be drawn to. Often with this, I end up both learning and enjoying reading their posts.
  6. To Gain Support for a Cause: Facebook is a great venue to promote and gain support for good causes or for yourself to support a cause you feel passionate about.                                                                                                                                                                        

Alternatively, never define yourself or how good of a parenting job your are doing by how many likes you and your kids get on Facebook. Never allow Facebook to let you get down on yourself. Never use Facebook to judge other moms, or any person for that matter. Never let yourself take to heart any judgements posted on Facebook regarding you.

Overall, for me, the advantages of Facebook outweigh the disadvantages and for this reason, I maintain that although I may be slightly “addicted” to Facebook, it for me remains to be a healthy addiction.  For some other individuals, this is not the case.

If your Facebook addiction happens to be of the unhealthy kind, look up a man named Brendan Bouchard. He is a  recognized authority on the topic of human motivation. He is also a high performance coach and conference speaker. Brendan has notably discussed how to “unplug” and get back to humanity . To read Brendan’s article on “how to unplug without losing touch”, you can visit his site and blog at: http://brendon.com/blog/how-to-unplug-without-losing-touch/.

Despite the fact that I do feel that my connection to Facebook is healthy, I more than anything know that I want to be someone that listens when people are talking to me, especially my children and my spouse. I want to be someone whose ear is on my loved ones words so intently, that they wholeheartedly know they are important. I value what they have to say and they need to know that. Because of this, I am driven to maintain a steady balance between Facebook and my real life and I encourage you to do the same.

If you have an unhealthy addiction to Facebook, then please see the err of your ways and unplug now. But, if you would like to continue your healthy relationship with Facebook, then, my suggestion to you is the following:

1. Disconnect  for a short while.

2. Reconnect with yourself or your child or your spouse.

3. When you are ready to reconnect, check out Tampa Bay Moms Blog.  

4. Continue posting adorable pictures of your children.

5. Grab yourself small and periodic “release and refresh” breaks like I like to do .

6. Keep sane while on this parenting journey.

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