So… I have a serious love-hate relationship with social media. I love seeing what my friends are up to, I love feeling connected to those who live far away, and I love the traffic it brings to my website. However, more often than not, social media brings so much more along with it. In my sporadic usage of social media sites, I have a personal list of all the things social media has brought into my life in the past…
- Lots of wasted minutes scrolling through photos
- An intense desire to know everything about everyone (including people I’ve never met in person)
- Distracted quiet times with the Lord (because I really want to see what was posted since I last checked)
- Exposure to inappropriate photos, memes, and comments
- A feeling of discontentment, because I’m constantly seeing what everyone else is doing, wearing, buying, etc.
- A lack of productivity
- A feeling of guilt for wasting so much time online
Can you relate?
In the past year or so, I have been learning how to manage my time and interaction on social media. Pinterest I can manage (mostly) and is the largest source of traffic for this website. Facebook can be big waste of time, but when used strictly for blogging purposes, it’s a big help. And Instagram….well… I just gave up on Instagram. I spent way too much time scrolling through photos, building a following etc. It was so time consuming and did more to “hurt” me than it did to help me.
As a result of trying, failing, and learning how to manage my personal use of social media, I’ve decided to come up with a list of guidelines to share with you.
Social media isn’t as harmless as most people think… and unfortunately, if you don’t use it properly it can be downright harmful. The internet alone can be a dangerous place (maybe I will talk about that more sometime) but today, I’m focusing just on social media. So, for the rest of this post, let’s chat about some things we can do (and NOT do) to make sure we are using social media in a God-honoring, Christ-like way.
4 Social Media Guidelines for Christian Young Women
1. Decide which Sites you will use and why
Everyone uses social media for different reasons. Most often I hear people say they use it to keep in touch with friends and family (especially those who live far away). This is all fine and good, if you are actually using it for those purposes and spending a self-disciplined amount of time doing so. However, for most people (like me!) we get caught up in news, gossip, and drama, and it’s down right addicting at times.
This is one of the many reasons I have decided to ditch Instagram all together. It was one of those sites that would pull me in and I would waste hours on end. So, it had to go. There are social media sites I have decided to use, and I have a reason for using them. Knowing why I am using a particular site helps me stay in control of the time I spend on social media (although believe me, I still have the occasional late night Pinterest binge from time-to-time). Here’s what I have decided to use and why:
Pinterest: for personal and bogging use. Pinterest feeds the creative side of my brain, and builds my blog too 😉 It’s a win-win for me!
Facebook: for blogging use and some personal use (I used Facebook to find my wedding dress!) and every once in a blue moon I need to use Facebook at work.
I’m also on Twitter, Google+, and Bloglovin’, because of this blog, but I rarely (if ever) post on those sites. However, every time I post a new blog post (like this one) it automatically posts to those sites without me touching it. (That’s the kind of social media I need haha!) 🙂
So, I would encourage you to make your own list. Use your discretion when creating accounts on social media sites. Do you really need an account on every site? Be sure you have a good reason for using the sites you choose, and stick to that reason so you don’t waste your time.
2. Be careful who you be-friend and follow
Obviously, we can’t control what other people decide to post. We never know just what a person may decide to share, so we need to be careful who we allow into our “social media circles”. If you don’t know someone very well, or if they are a person of questionable character, don’t just follow or be-friend them on a whim. Be as careful about your acquaintances on social media as you are with the friends you have in real life. One wrong friend could open a door to little problems, which could lead to bigger problems. The moral of this point – just be careful and cautious with your friends!
“He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.” Proverbs 13:20
Don’t be a companion of fools – even if it’s “just online”.
→ Be especially careful with friends of the opposite gender. Private messaging and getting too friendly (even if it’s “just online”) is not appropriate. Never have any kind of relationship (online or off) that is secretive or hidden from parents. Be transparent.
3. Guard Your Purity
Social media is full of pictures, jokes, and innuendos… if you’re not careful you may end up compromising your purity. You may hop onto social media with completely pure and innocent motives, and before you know it, you are taking your eyes and mind to a place they don’t belong.
“Eye candy” photos, sensual adds, and trashy memes can only harm your mind and heart. It may seem like no big deal to scroll through an “Eye Candy” Pinterest board full of handsome, buff men… but those few moments of looking can open up a whole new door for sin to walk right in.
Whenever you are on the internet or social media… you must make the choice to guard your purity at all costs (even if it means un-following close friends, or ditching social media all together). If something is causing you to be tempted, or sin in any way… get rid of it. It’s not worth it! Make it absolutely impossible for any sin to enter into your life.
Guard your eyes, your mind, your heart, and your purity.
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” 2 Timothy 2:22
4. Set Time Limits
Social media is one of the biggest time-wasters out there. I’m sure you already knew that but sometimes we seem to forget! 😉 If you have a tendency to spend excess amounts of time on social media, set some guidelines for yourself. Set a timer if you have to… but don’t let it get out of hand. Here are some ideas for “time guidelines” to have when it comes to social media and internet usage (you don’t have to use them all – just the ones that work for you):
- No social media until you have spent some quiet time with the Lord
- No social media before breakfast
- No more than “X” amount of time using social media per day
- No social media after a certain time in the evening/night
- No social media after “lights out”
- No social media in bed
- No social media when others are close by, desiring your attention and focus
- Etc. etc.
Our time is precious, it’s valuable, and it’s limited. There is only so much we can do for the Lord in the small amount of time He’s given us here on this earth. Wasting countless hours on social media is not a wise way to spend the resource of time that God has given us. Look over the short list of ways to set time limits on your social media, and determine to put at least one or two “time guidelines” in place for your own use of social media.
Let’s use our time wisely!
“See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16
Everyone has differing opinions about social media, and the proper use of it. Whatever you choose to do in your “social media life” I hope you will make your choice(s) with wisdom and discretion. Social media is a tool, but when used incorrectly it can be dangerous. Choose to seek God’s will for you in this area. Even “little things” like social media can have a huge impact on your life (for good or for bad). So… seek God’s wisdom and use discretion in this not-so-harmless part of your life.
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James 1:5
I Would Love To Know
How do you feel about social media? Do you use it? Have you set up any personal guidelines for yourself? What do you need to change about your use of social media?
Please share your answers and thoughts in the comments! I love hearing from you!