Everyone hears conversations about social media every day. Maybe it is about what a "friend" posted or a funny video that got shared. The one I am starting to hear more is that social media is affecting their health and disturbing their sense of inner peace. At one point, I thought the only people who said something bad about social media were older people, especially ones that dislike new technology. Now, I hear my peers talking about deactivating Facebook or Instagram accounts because of how intrusive it is. I myself have felt the negative effects of social media.

Obviously, there is no black and white answer on how to approach this. But social media is just like anything else we enjoy in life, it has to be used with moderation. Just like social media, you can spend too much time eating, exercising, playing video games, drinking, etc. Moderation is something that every human being has to strive for. Moderation with social media has become an important goal everyone should pursue. I would like to share some of my personal suggestions on ways to enjoy social media in a healthy and wholesome way.

My first suggestion is to limit social media use to the weekends. I began doing this after noticing how much I wasted time during the week checking Facebook. It prevented me from focusing on assignments and studying for my classes. Social media also distracts you from paying attention to the friends closest to you physically. If someone needs to contact you, they have your phone number. As a result, I have been more productive and attentive to my friends and family.

Second, limit the number of posts you read on your newsfeed. Depending on the number of "friends" you have, your newsfeed will have a seemingly infinite number of posts to read. You can't read every single one. Consider that when you also post something to your newsfeed and you don't get a reaction or like. It is not because people don't care, it is because of the heavy internet traffic for social media posts that they skim on their feed.

Third, don't have social media on your phone. In the past, when I made a goal to cut down on social media time, I kept failing because it was on my phone. The temptation was too great. Then I figured it out, uninstall it from your phone, problem solved. I only check social media on my laptop. I understand that there are certain situations where it needs to be on your phone, but I believe those situations are rare. As I mentioned before, if it is urgent, people can call or text you. Give your phone number to someone you think may have to contact you.

Fourth, do not use social media for political or religious discussions! The only exception to this is commenting on a political page, like President Trump's facebook profile or a Democrat Party page. However, I stay away from those anyway because people are insulting each other, never discussing the issue. Either way, social media posts are usually short, which makes it impossible to have a productive conversation or even have your mind changed. Let's be honest, when has a tweet or Facebook post changed your mind on an issue? I used to post about politics in the 2016 election, trying to change minds. And guess what happened? Not one person changed their position. I only had the same people agree or disagree with me. The only wholesome political conversations I have had are with people face to face, not over Facebook. Plus political posts are almost always negative. Why go on social media if it only makes you more pessimistic or angry?

These are just some of my ideas. There are other speakers out there that love to share their suggestions. Perhaps you should brainstorm ideas on how to lessen the negative influence of social media in your life.