Begin forming habits that will help you to use social media as a tool rather than allowing it to control you
Some of the designers, engineers, and strategists of the tech companies that created the smart phone operating system and the apps for it are concerned. They have come to realize that they have created a monster, and they want to do something about it. Tristan Harris is one of them.
Justin Rosenstein, one of the creators of the “like” button on Facebook, is another. Because Rosenstein knows from experience how addictive social media is, he no longer uses the apps he helped design and he sends his children to a low-tech private school that emphasizes hands-on learning. Several other former Silicon Valley engineers do the same.
This team of deeply concerned former tech insiders have formed a non-profit organization, the Center for Humane Technology. Its goal is twofold: (i) to make people aware that these technologies are designed to be addictive and (ii) to provide practical ways to help people to break their unhealthy attachment to technology and to learn instead to use it as a tool. The first eight tips that follow come from the Parents and Educators page of the Center’s website.
16 changes to consider, habits to develop:
- Have phone free zones in your home.
- Get a separate alarm clock, and don’t take your cell phone to your bedroom.
- Discuss with your parents, and agree on, rules for cell phone use.
- When you’re studying, leave your phone in another room.
- Take a phone “Sabbath” with your family. Plan alternative activities ahead of time.
- Turn off all notifications except from people.
- Call instead of texting.
- Review your social media record every week and make changes if necessary.
- Put your cell phone down and turn off notifications.
- Replace time on social media with other activities like spending face-to-face time with people who are important to you, listening and giving them your full attention.
- Create and guard uninterrupted times for activities you need to concentrate on and for relationships that need to go deeper.
- Plan a full uninterrupted hour without your cell phone. During that hour you will … (you decide what you will do!)
- Use an app to set a specific time period for using interesting but unhelpful websites.
- Join with friends to keep each other accountable.
- Think before you write, and again before you hit “Send.” ReThink can remind you to do this. Does what you have written show respect for the other person, encourage them and help to build them up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)?
- Instead of giving in to FMO by not checking a notification, consider what you may be missing by spending so much time on social media.