Healthy Social Media Habits… Because Our Kids Are Watching
I have been thinking LONG and hard about this. I will be the first to admit…because my work is in social media, this is a topic that I continue to come back to time and time again. I am constantly “checking” myself and asking Perry to help keep me accountable when it comes to my social media intake and habits.
Let’s be real here for a moment: I am a 34-year-old adult and there are moments when social media affects my self-esteem and self-worth. I fall victim to comparing my creative work to others, wondering why I don’t have as many likes or followers as so and so and really begin to question what my purpose is on this space.
When I decided to blog and make content creating my full-time job in late 2018, I knew that it would be a steep learning curve and that my self-esteem would be tested as my job is literally reliant on being judged and evaluated every single day by the likes, comments, views and engagement Love & LaRock receives.
I am so grateful that I get to work from home. Trust me, I do not take this for granted. I go to bed thinking how grateful I am for every single reader, follower, and person who treats me with such kindness on a daily basis. Being on the receiving end that this community has to offer can be both quite empowering and really humbling, and makes me strive to be kind and to give back to others in the same way that those selflessly give back to me and my family on the daily.
I want to keep doing this. I want to create, inspire and expand Love & LaRock and The Mindful Mamas Club to make every woman, person, mother, and human who comes into contact with what I am putting out there feel heard, valued, accepted and loved. But in order to continue to do this, I can’t burn out. I can’t be on my phone for the amount of time it would take to answer every comment and question that comes my way. But deeper and more important than burning out, I have tiny eyes watching how I consume media and I will be damned if Winter’s worth comes into question because she has picked up on some bad habits from me.
Below are 7 ways to set a good example for your kids while you consume social media:
SET A TIMER FOR MINDFUL CONSUMPTION:
I am first to say that I get sucked into the vortex of Instagram. I scroll, tap, like and comment and all of a sudden I look up and it’s been an hour and I hadn’t even accomplished what I had intended to do (e.g., respond to direct messages, reach out to brands for partnership, spread love on other people’s accounts, or check in with my family and friends). So now, I set a timer on my phone and allow myself to consume without guilt for 15 minutes. Once that timer goes off, I shut it down.
SET A TIMER FOR TOTAL TIME SPENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
Did you know that you can now set an Instagram timer that keeps track of how long you’ve used the app that day? I set mine to an hour and once that alert goes off, I try my best to respect it. I hop off, make a to-do list of what I need to do the following day and where I left off. Learn how to do it here.
SET AN INTENTION BEFORE YOU SCROLL:
Before I go on Instagram, I try to set an intention so I am not distracted by all the pretty feeds around me. If my intention is to respond to comments, I do that. If it’s to get insights from my account to give to a brand for a possible collaboration, I do just that. Now trust me friends, this takes some crazy will-power but I’ve noticed that when I set an intention for my purpose on the app, I feel more productive and less inclined to get off-task.
BE MINDFUL OF YOUR THOUGHTS:
This is a must! If you notice that you’re starting to use negative self-talk, compare yourself to others, feel envy or jealousy that’s your cue to get off. Be conscious of what accounts illicit negative feelings for you and feel free to press the unfollow button. It’s okay to say goodbye to the things that don’t serve you.
SET BOUNDARIES FOR WHERE YOU CONSUME:
We have no-phone rooms. The kids room is a no-phone zone. I want my children to be able to play without the threat of a phone distracting their parents or their play. We also never charge our phones in our rooms. We find that it is important to set some physical boundaries for our phones and when we go into our room without them, we are more inclined to read a book, talk or sleep.
PUT YOUR PHONE IN TIMEOUT:
We set times when Perry and I put our phones in time-out. Winter knows what we mean when we say this and she will even help us by physically taking both of our phones and putting them in a box on the counter. I read somewhere that the most important moments for connection with your kids are the first 15 minutes when they wake up, the first 15 minutes when they get home from school and the last 15 minutes before they go to bed. So we put our phones out of sight during those time frames as well as at least 1-2 hours through out the day.
ASK YOUR KIDS FOR THEIR PERMISSION:
I’ll be honest, I hate Instagram Stories. Yes, it’s neat to be able to get to know people aside from their curated feeds, but I think they are one of the most intrusive ways we use social media. Some bloggers will story from the moment they wake up and until the time they go to bed. It’s a form of documentation that is so interesting and I’ll admit, can be very entertaining. I have a lot of respect for the people who do this…it takes courage, it takes consistency and it takes commitment. I have had a lot of talks with myself around this topic. I feel that because I am a blogger, I am supposed to document my day so I can build a more connected community and show you all the unedited version of my life. However, on the contrary, I am so protective of my life and I don’t always want to show it.
Winter nor Lennon chose to be publicly seen on social media. It’s a choice I made for them. I try my hardest to story when they aren’t around. That’s why you will see me a lot of times sitting on the floor in my room with my door closed. I have also started asking Winter if it’s okay to record her. Before she even sees my phone, I will say, “Winter I would like to do some stories, is it okay if I record you doing X, Y and Z?” She will either say no and I respect that or she will oblige. If I have to record her doing something for a brand, I make it very clear about our intention of the story before we begin and always thank her for helping me work… sometimes with a lollipop.
There is still a lot of work I have to do in regards to setting a good example for my kids. No doubt as my children get older, I will need to revisit this list and continue to evolve and adapt. If you have any other ideas on healthy habits, comment below.
And always remember that you are deserving of love, success and light in your life. Keep shining, friends!