Social Media

By the end of your life, how much time do you think you’ll have spent cumulatively on social media? 

According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, it will be about six years and eight months! That’s a lot of time out of your precious, one-of-a-kind life, don’t you think?

Now, I am not anti-social media or anti-tech. They can be invaluable tools for connection, creativity, and expression. Social media helped us keep in touch with our loved ones through a global pandemic. 

Zoom, Google, and a ton of other tech made it possible for our businesses to keep running and our kids to keep learning despite Covid lockdowns. 

Many of us have access to the entire world in the palm of our hand, and for the most part, that’s pretty incredible. But, as with everything, technology and social media usage need to be approached with mindfulness and balance. 

So in this episode, I’m going to be talking about social media, tech, and boundaries, so you can evaluate the impact on your mental health, your relationships, and your ability to be present in your real life (not just your virtual one!)

The reality is human beings are social creatures. We need companionship to thrive. Being socially disconnected can be isolating and create stress, anxiety, and depression. Social media can assuage those feelings and in many ways, provide comfort, connection, joy, and a sense of being seen. That said, we must be discerning about where we spend our time online and aware of how much time we’re spending.

Have you ever gone to check in on Instagram or Facebook quickly and suddenly you blink and it’s 30 minutes or an hour later? How do you feel when you surface from permanent scroll-mode or a Netflix hole? If the answer is not great, then this is an internal boundary issue and you might need to put some appropriate limits into place when it comes to being online. 

It’s important to understand the physical response our bodies have to social media. When we see those hearts, likes, and comments on our posts, it impacts the same part of the brain center any other addiction hits. Our feel-good hormone, dopamine, gets released when we pick up our device and our brains will continue to seek that reward if left unchecked. 

Here are some more reasons your relationship with social media needs appropriate boundaries:

  • The compare and despair trap. Scrolling online through perfectly curated feeds can leave us feeling our lives are somehow less than. It can create a sense of inferiority or inadequacy, especially if we are comparing ourselves to others in our social media experience and feeling like we can never measure up.
  • FOMO. (Do people still say that? Either way, I do!) Do you ever think things like: Is something happening? Am I missing something important? Would I be having more fun if I were online? From a psychological perspective, the fear of missing out is very real and can potentially fuel anxiety and social media dependence. 
  • Isolation. The University of Pennsylvania did a study and found high usages of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok can increase your sense of loneliness. Another study reported a reduction in social media usage can improve your overall wellbeing. #science
  • Cyberbullying, trolls, and unnecessary arguments. There’s something about being behind a screen that seems to give some people the CYBER-balls. The anonymity for some, emboldens them to say things they would likely never say to someone in person. With the tumultuous times we’ve been through recently, social media has been jam-packed with division and strife. 
  • Unhealthy self-absorption and constant seeking of external validation. If you are constantly posting and then checking back in to see how many people liked or commented, take note. Remember, 20 years ago, selfies didn’t even exist! 
  • Numbing out (the opposite of problem-solving!). For those who are avoidant in their relationships, hopping on social media can be a way to dodge uncomfortable feelings or conflict. 

If this is resonating with you, what can you do? 

First, it’s important to take some time and really think about what drives your social media and tech use. Are you feeling lonely, depressed, or bored when you turn to your preferred platform? If you’re relying on technology to relieve those feelings, I encourage you to brainstorm things you can do in real life to help you feel the way you want to feel. 

Did you know one of the quickest ways to boost your endorphins is to make eye contact with someone who cares about you?

In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m giving you a quick inventory so you can get clear on how much time you are currently spending on social media and tech plus some key strategies to break the scroll cycle. You can grab it right here. 

You deserve to be present in your life and every relationship you have. Commit to raising your awareness of how normalized being half present in your day-to-day is. 

I promise you if you are looking at your device or checking the comments on your last post while you’re having dinner with your loved ones, there is no way you’re having the same experience. 

Intimacy is hard enough. If you think you can “multitask” think again. A Harvard study on productivity found participants were 30% less effective at each task. So really they were just doing more things simultaneously and less well. 

Is there someone in your life who’s always on their device when you’re trying to interact with them? Set the boundary, babe. You can say, “I’d like to make a simple request that we both stay off our phones so we can be present with one another.” 

Let’s say you’ve set the boundary, and it happens again. Take a page from my book and just stop talking. When they look up, say, “If it’s important, I can wait.”

If they respond with something like, “I’m listening.” You can say something like, “I need you to listen with your eyes and your ears, please.” (Cuz talking to the top of anyone’s head while they scroll is a hard NO.)

You have choices about the internal and external boundaries you need in all areas of your life! Inside the guide, I have curated some ideas of what you can do to check in with your relationship to tech and social media because, again, there is nothing, more important than you being present in your actual, real life. Here’s where you can grab your Social Media, Tech + Boundaries Guide! 

Wouldn’t it be amazing if this would be the last generation who struggled with boundaries? The good news? The boundary revolution has begun! You can all be a part of making sure we raise the collective awareness of how essential boundary skills are so future generations can be the leaders and the boundary bosses we need in this world! 

In that same spirit, we’ve been working on something incredibly special. It’s called Boundary Boss: Next Gen! If you want to stay in the loop click here and we’ll give you all the juicy deets! 

Thank you, I wish you a super present week and as always, take care of you. 

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  1. Hey Terri,

    Thanks so much for this post! I totally agree that we need better boundaries around tech and social media.

    I phased out social media over 2 years because it just wasn’t working anymore and was really wrecking my wellbeing.

    Now that I’m learning about boundaries and a more fulfilling life away from the Internet, I only use tech at specific times so I have as little screen time as possible.

    I come online only if I really need to, so while it’s challenging not to spend hours and hours distracting myself from whatever’s going on, it’s also teaching me to be way more present in my real life and value my relationships much more than I ever have before.

    Like you said, we need in-person connection, and for me it has to be REAL connection, not faux connection that’s cheap and meaningless.

    Thank you again for this. YOU are a true Boundary Boss and I’m stoked to learn from you! 😀

  2. I’m 1990 born female. I once joined Facebook back in 2012 when a friend of mine recommended it to me, but I completely left it in 2013 due to a bad stalking issue. Once I left it, I realized that I actually didn’t need FB at all in my life. Thankfully, all my most valuable relationships continued without FB (by emails and letters), and those relationships that hadn’t really served me went away with my FB account. I learned that I’m by nature a person who is more comfortable with slow communication, and so, SNS of any kind doesn’t work well for me. Instead, I like leaving handwritten notes to my housemates and writing emails and letters to my friends for distant communications. Regarding my phone, I switched to a smartphone in 2018, but most of the day, I’m away from my phone. I use my phone when I need to check emails or look for some information or take pictures. My friends know this (they are surprised when I’m with my phone), and they are very understanding about it. So for me, since I’ve learned very early on that SNS communication was not compatible with my nature, I never had the SNS problem myself. However, I do feel upset when others constantly check their phone notifications while we are conversing. It is important for me that each interaction takes place with full mutual presence.

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