Earlier this year, I realized I had a major issue. I was addicted to Instagram.
Although I had known the truth for a while, I hadn't been courageous enough to face it.
My dependency on Instagram surfaced in various ways. I found myself spending an increasing amount of time on my phone. At first, I used it as an escape from awkward or less than ideal social situations. Eventually, I found my time on Instagram creeped into my time with my friends and family. I started spending far too much time meticulously editing each photo and perfecting each caption. The sheer amount of time I was spending on the app was reaching an inappropriate level.
It extended beyond simply turning to the app when I was in a less than ideal social situation. I began to obsess over what I posted—both the photographs themselves and the captions. Most of the time, I used Instagram to share short devotions and thoughts from my walk with Christ. The posts themselves were harmless. The intent behind them was the issue. After a while, I shifted the intentions behind the posts into something less healthy. The comments and the likes I was receiving fueled my self-confidence and became my source of joy. Without the reassurance from others, I became frustrated. Instead of rooting my worth in Christ's love, it was replanted in what other people were telling me.
The combination of these two factors led me to the decision I ultimately made. I’m ashamed to say it terrified me, the thought of deleting my Instagram account, but that’s exactly why I needed to. Instagram had become much more than a way to stay connected with friends. It was becoming an idol. I wrote out a pro’s and con’s list, and, unsurprisingly, the pro’s greatly outweighed the con’s. I prayed over the decision, but God had already made the answer clear. If the idea of deleting my account made me that nervous, it had to be done. And so it was.
The first week without Instagram was harder than I'd like to admit. I kept reaching for my phone and subconsciously tapping where the app used to live. After the shock factor wore off, I hardly noticed it was gone. I began replacing my Instagram time with family and friend time. It became easier to set my phone aside.
I will admit that once I deleted Instagram, I spent more time on Facebook. While I saw improvement on how much time I spent on my phone, I also saw an increase in my love for Facebook. Since I no longer had my favorite social media platform, a new one had to take it's place. Some of the activities I participate in require me to use a Facebook account, so I can't delete it like I did my Instagram. However, I have discovered that deleting the application on my phone and accessing it via my laptop significantly decreased my need for the website.
Spending time on the internet versus with those around me is something I've wrestled with for a while. Though I'm still growing, I have learned that face to face communication is so much richer, and strengthens community so much more than a screen ever could. In a technology filled world, it is comforting to know the power of human interaction—face to face and heart to heart.