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Breaking the Social Media Addiction

by | Sat, Oct 8 2022

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Many of us have trouble controlling our use of social media. On our phones, something new always appears and demands our attention. When we get alerts about almost everything that’s going on in the world, it can become extremely distracting.

Author and speaker Sheridan Voysey, recently made a big change to his social media usage. For the past couple of years, he has been turning off all app notifications, because all they want is attention. They have no interest at all in our wellbeing.

Perpetual Scrolling

More recently though, he took a more drastic step. ‘I was finding that when it came to social media, even with the some of the things that I was putting into place, I was not winning the battle,’ says Sheridan. ‘Particularly when I was tired, I was just too vulnerable to opening up an app and scrolling.’

Sheridan felt he had to do something about this problem, so he deleted all the apps off his phone. ‘Twitter was the first one to come off,’ he says. ‘It wasn’t just inducing in me this kind of perpetual scrolling motion, but it was also making me angry. It really is a hotbed for debate and posturing.’

Sheridan thought Facebook was safe territory for him, but again he found himself scrolling more and more. ‘I’d reach for my phone first thing in the morning and start scrolling, and then over breakfast I’d do a bit more. Sometimes when I was tired I would not be able to stop.’

Taking Back Control

That’s when Sheridan says he realised that something needed to change. ‘The interesting thing is, there was a real fear for me in taking these apps off my phone. Am I going to be able to keep up with other people? Am I going to be able to post as immediately as I’d like to when I want to get something out?’

Many of us have become addicted to the need to post everything immediately. But when our phones start dictating how we live, we need to take back some control. Sheridan now has a smartphone that is completely free of apps.

‘I still use those social media channels which I love,’ says Sheridan. ‘But I use them on my work computer because I’ve got more control over that. Even it at its best, social media fills your mind full of ideas and things to worry about. I’ve found that my soul is a lot less noisy as a result of not doing all that scrolling.’

Removing the Temptation

Our brains don’t have the capacity to process everything we see, so it goes into our subconscious. It hasn’t had time to find its place inside our psyche. The information is buzzing in the background, and that’s not good for our spiritual health or wellbeing.

‘There’s another kind of psychological factor,’ says Sheridan. ‘It’s called intermittent variable reward. It’s that feeling that if I scroll one more time, I might get another hit. And this might be the thing that gives me the dopamine high I need. But that’s not actually working for us. For me, discipline wasn’t enough. I had to remove the temptation.’

Sheridan believes that when we take that temptation away, we’ve got a lot more freedom, headspace, soul space, and heart space for all the things that God wants for us. We can find soul rest, and then focus on the things we need to do.

‘If we take a step back and reflect,’ says Sheridan. ‘It’s going to be better for not just us, but like for other people who are reading what we say.’

Listen to Sheridan’s full interview on Rise & Shine below, or for more resources visit our Vision Store.