This past weekend I watched The Social Dilemma with my husband, and I have since removed all social media apps from my phone (and totally deleted others).
Now, don’t panic, this is not an article trying to convince you to abandon social media, we at Catholic-Link very much try to offer resources precisely through the means of social media. BUT this article is about how we should approach social media as Catholics.
A general breakdown of the documentary: it’s easy to become addicted to social media, content is curated to keep you on your device as long as possible and this is influenced by advertisers, everyone sees different content that is tailored to their interests and this leads to individuals living in echo-chambers surrounded by like-minded people.
I could go on and on, but you should just watch it yourself.
This got me thinking that if social media can be addictive, cause conflict and division, and can influence my actions and thoughts…how can I use social media like a Catholic? How can I allow the Faith to guide my actions in this area? Here are 3 basic principles to keep in mind when using social media/your smart devices.
- Be Humble
I don’t mean in the content you post, although that is also a good thing to keep in mind, but I mean that if you take a look at your social media usage and realize you have a problem putting your phone down, admit that and take action!
Personally, I realized I was using social media to combat the loneliness I was feeling as a stay-at-home mom. It also added a lot of unnecessary pressure because there were a million ideas of how I could be raising my son better – how to prepare food so as to avoid picky eating, how to narrate everything I was doing so give him a leg up on vocabulary, etc.
The funny thing is, a lot of the content we consume on social media isn’t bad in itself, but the way it influences our lives and actions matters.
“To many, total abstinence is easier than perfect moderation.” St. Augustine
Ahh, the wisdom of a father (Father of the Church that is). Moderation is HARD because we often overestimate our self-control.
Moderation can look differently for everyone. Some apps may be your trigger and others may not affect you at all. For me, instagram was taking up way to much of my time and attention so I deleted my account. Facebook, not so much, so I kept it. But I did take both of these apps off of my phone so I wouldn’t be able to access them during the day.
Here are a few questions that can help you determine what moderation should look like for you:
What does your social media/phone usage look like compared to your prayer life? Adjust accordingly.
Do you spend most of your time on a screen after your daily responsabilities are done?
Do you spend a lot of work time or other “responsibility time” on social media.
What do you want your time to look like?
3. Faith Filled Content
Again, I am not saying all social media or all apps are bad, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater here. That means we can be intentional about what content we expose ourselves too. Although, obviously ditch accounts that lead you to sin, such as any account that leads you to judge others, envy, gossip, etc.
Follow Catholic accounts…such as Catholic-Link =)
Fill your smartphone with prayer apps. A great one that we recommend is Hallow.
We recently entered into a partnership with Hallow and you can try a month of their Hallow Plus app for free by following this link, each person who signs up for an account with Hallow also helps support the mission of Catholic-Link!
In summary, screen time and social media are in our lives and they influence our lives, so we must be vigilant and adjust accordingly.