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Why I Took the Facebook App Off My Phone

Shortly before the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, I deleted the Facebook app from my iPhone.

A little too much champagne? No, no. My drink of choice was straight hot chocolate. I was curled up in my pjs on the couch in front of a toasty fire. The children were sleeping soundly–my mental state was about as good as it gets.

According to my estimation, I update my status or post a picture about once a day (in addition to “likes,” comments and shares.) It’s hard to resist posting something funny/endearing/revealing/thought-provoking and receiving those happy little red notifications in return. Deleting this app required a little courage. It felt like voluntarily snipping a lifeline, relinquishing a security blanket.


facebook app

To be clear: I did not delete my account; I just removed the app from my phone. But why?

1. To be intentional about my goals, I needed to turn down the noise. I have Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Instagram and Bloglovin’; however, I turn to FB the most. I do so primarily from my phone, in snippets of time throughout the day. Mobile Facebook is so cheap and accessible, I tap into it all day long. It doesn’t hold the same lure from my desktop, where checking it requires me to sit in a chair. I can’t afford to sit long. Facebook from my computer has a different cost-benefit analysis, and I hoped I’d regulate my consumption to levels more appropriate for me.

2. At the Arboretum, an employee asked my seven-year-old: “Do you know what Facebook is?” and she scoffed “Of course! My mom’s on it all the time.” As if further emphasis were needed, she punctuated her statement with an eye roll. I was mortified. At myself.

3. I’ve been known to zombie-gaze into my phone while my husband repeats himself. I snapped to when I overheard our 7-year-old sigh “mama really loves her phone…” Nooooo!, my heart gasped…I do NOT love my phone! I love you!” I put the phone away. Until the next time I need a hit. Which I snuck in the bathroom, where no one can deny me the right to spend a few minutes (though I must lock the door to keep out small invaders.)

4. During my FB quickie-checks, I’m lured by articles I want to read. Inevitably, that’s just when one of my children interrupt. I’ll feel annoyed. With my child. For having needs that interrupt the randomness I allow myself on the phone I check out of mindless habit. How ridiculous.

5. I’ve structured my life to spend quality and quantity time with my children while they are young. My children have front-row seats to my habits. It’s a challenge, a responsibility and an incentive to model a healthy relationship to technology that’s not only here to stay, but likely to increase over time. I will have zero credibility to ask them to put down their ___(???s)____ if I can’t manage it myself.

6. When I was a child, my parents were busy in their own ways, but they weren’t checking phones during dinner, from the driver’s seat, and as I tried to tell them something important. More of everybody’s time was spent in social interaction. How will mobile technology shape our kids? Why do we cluck our tongues at children’s use of them and avert our gaze when adults over-use them.

7. My mother passed away nine months ago, an ever-present reminder that time is a finite quantity. Minutes spent on social media add up to hours not spent on something else. My Facebook performance (yes, performance–and yours is, too) is fleeting and insignificant; the influence of a mother is lasting and great. I don’t need to tally up the amount of time I spend on it to know in my gut it’s too much.

 Here’s what I’ve noticed during my Facebook-smartphone detox:

  • Remember how I worried I would be “voluntarily snipping a lifeline” by deleting an app? That was fear talking. Fear of missing out on the party, I suppose. I’ve actually felt increased peace. When I have joined the FB party from my desktop, I’ve been more intentional about using it to foster off-line connections–a little goal of mine for 2014.
  • Remember how I felt I was “relinquishing a security blanket?” A little space helped me to see that a security blanket that generates its own brand of anxiety is not a terrible one to relinquish.
  • I’ve realized that I am honestly scared of how easily addictive social media is. I’m aware of its benefits. Still, I’m honestly worried about how the addiction factor will play out in the future on a cultural level. But at the end of the day, all I can do is make whatever changes feel healthy and appropriate for me.
  • I’ve been productive with my finite time. More patient with my kids. Less compulsive with my phone. I like it. For now, I’m sticking with it.

If you need more balance between phone and family, but aren’t ready to remove apps, Heather has some alternate suggestions.

Is your social media restraint sufficient for you to find balance, or have you ever just deleted the source of temptation?

Let me know what you think!

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7 Responses to Why I Took the Facebook App Off My Phone

  1. Becky January 28, 2014 at 9:58 am #

    I really admire my sister-in-law because she got rid of her iphone and picked up an older phone because she realized she was spending too much precious time texting throughout the day. That, and your post encourage me to examine my habits.

    • Karla January 28, 2014 at 1:57 pm #

      Thanks for your comment, Becky! I have a friend who inspired me in that she is just basically not a slave to electronics. It’s funny, hanging out with her reminds me of life in the 80s and 90s. 🙂 I don’t intend to mimic her, exactly, but I do admire that she is really present wherever she is. I want that, too. Good luck!

  2. Veronica January 28, 2014 at 10:05 am #

    Awesome. Ok. I deleted FB and Twitter just now and I’m so excited!

    • Karla January 28, 2014 at 2:00 pm #

      Veronica: High five!

      I say, just try it out for a certain length of time (long enough to make a difference, maybe a month) and pay attention to how you feel. A little perspective never hurt anybody, right? Thanks for your comment.

  3. Leona January 28, 2014 at 3:14 pm #

    This is so true, Karla! A few years ago a friend and I were talking about Facebook as we were both timid about jumping in. And she asked a good question: What will I need to give up to be on Facebook? She is a homeschooling mama like you and is maxxed out in every area of her life. She chose her family over Facebook. While she has an account, she only checks it once every month or two and rarely posts. She decided that she just can’t do both and still be there 100 percent for her family when it comes to time, patience, attention and all of those things that our families require and demand, especially having little ones. I am challenging myself this year to balance less of the online relationships with more off the offline relationships, which are the best kind of all. Thanks for making me reflect on all this … you write beautifully, by the way.

  4. Karla January 28, 2014 at 5:46 pm #

    Leona, thank you. I agree with your friend, that it is a trade-off…for as much as we love our “likes,” our kids see things from a different perspective…and ultimately, it’s their hearts I’d like to win, their behind-the-scenes perspective and respect I’d like to earn. Since I only have so much energy and time…something has to give! 🙂 Here’s to moderation and more offline, messy, complicated relationships. 🙂

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