A little late to the party but better late than never as they say, I decided with a great deal of enthusiasm to commit to Scroll Free September.
Scroll Free September offers an opportunity to take a break from all personal social media accounts for 30 days during September. I am an avid user of Social Media – from engaging with friends to finding new recipes, posting pictures to share and catching up with the world. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram – each one has its use in my day. I would like to think I have a positive balance and use it wisely.
But emerging evidence is raising concerns about the potential impact of social media on our mental health and wellbeing. In 2017, the #StatusOfMind report highlighted a range of potential negative effects of social media, including anxiety, depression, negative body image, cyberbullying and poor sleep. So, by going Scroll Free for a month, I get the chance to figure out what I miss, what I don’t, whether I do more of that I enjoy when I’m not engaged in social media.
I do have to admit to sharing a photo of my children on Thursday with a poem as the new School year began – something I have done every year and I promise I did not scroll! So far I have made time for real coffee and cake, instead of virtual catch ups, and have been out for a couple of pub lunches with friends. Actually spending time with people unsurprisingly means you get to know one another, warts and all, not just the happy highlights.
Social media has and will continue to attract masses of us because we benefit from the connection, the information, and the inspiration. However, we are called to make the most of our time and not squander it. We each have responsibilities and obligations, whether at home, in church, school, or the workplace – and as a follower of Jesus, I am committed to spending time each day reading the Bible and in prayer. Social media can encroach upon the ‘more needful’ things, including the importance of simply being present with family and friends. Wisdom would have us check our hearts and our schedules regularly. So another school year begins for my children and I think back to that first one nine years ago, I realise time passes by and today is an amazing precious gift .
God gives us everything we need, including the right amount of time – so let’s not waste today. Instead let’s treasure it and all the people within it.