Today: May 26, 2024
Today: May 26, 2024

How this mother regained control from Instagram's grip through a simple hack

Share This
LA Post: How this mother regained control from Instagram's grip through a simple hack
March 11, 2024
Nahal Garakani - LA Post

During the challenging period of early motherhood, when days seem to blend together, and self-care seems like a far-off concept, new mothers discover comfort in the light of their phone displays. One California mother found comfort via Instagram, but soon it became a consuming addiction. "During the long, slow days of early parenthood, I checked the app compulsively," she confessed in a recent interview. "Like someone who absentmindedly bites her nails or reaches for a cigarette, I would open the app without even thinking. The motion became automatic, reflexive." Initially a harmless method to alleviate the routine of looking after a newborn, her Instagram addiction quickly escalated, impacting her employment, her ability to parent, and her mental health

Her experience is not an isolated one. In today's highly interconnected society, where notifications are constantly buzzing and social media sites tempt individuals with the allure of approval and diversion, an increasing number of individuals are experiencing the challenges of social media addiction. Instagram successfully engages us by consistently showcasing carefully selected photographs accompanied by thoughtfully written captions. Various studies have consistently established a connection between excessive use of social media and various negative consequences, such as heightened feelings of loneliness and despair, along with reduced productivity and life satisfaction. However, even with increasing recognition of these constraints, a significant number of individuals find themselves in the struggle of social media addiction.

For this California mother, the breaking point came amid a surge of distressing news from Gaza. "The content on my feed was abundant with news and various opinions regarding the current events," she reminisced, the recollection still fresh. Launching the application seemed overwhelming with a flood of past trauma, yet I found it unable to divert my attention. Encountering global tragedy and quickly moving on to a hilarious meme might lead to emotional whiplash due to the cognitive dissonance involved. Even more worrisome was how her Instagram usage started to interfere with her daily routine. "It significantly affected both my concentration at work and my capacity to be fully engaged with my child," she said, reflecting a feeling that resonates with several parents in today's digital era.

Something had to change. But for this mom and countless others in her position, the idea of quitting social media cold turkey felt daunting and unrealistic. After all, Instagram wasn't all bad. It allowed her to stay connected with far-flung friends and family and to share in life's little moments and milestones from afar. She enjoyed the sense of community and the occasional laugh-out-loud post. The problem, she recognized, was one of moderation rather than total abstinence. The challenge was to find a way to build healthier boundaries with the app without having to give it up entirely.

After some trial and error, she landed on a solution that was as simple as it was effective: Delete the Instagram app each morning and reinstall it each evening. This small act of daily deletion, she found, was just enough of a barrier to break the cycle of mindless, reflexive checking that had previously consumed her. If she could make it until her toddler's bedtime before reinstalling, even better - that way, she could quickly catch up on posts from close friends and feel somewhat in the loop while resisting becoming entangled in the monotony of endless scrolling. Previous attempts to curb her usage, like setting time limits through her phone's built-in Screen Time feature, had proven too easy to circumvent. "Even when I delete the app, it's still pretty easy to reinstall, taking all but 10 seconds," she noted. "But that slight additional friction is key."

The impact of this simple strategy has been profound. "So far, I feel way less distracted and anxious during the day," she expressed a feeling that is likely to connect with anyone who has found themselves tethered to their phone. While she remains informed on current events, she now does so through more intentional, focused channels like email newsletters and podcasts. The constant, context-less barrage of information has ceased, replaced by a more manageable, curated stream. Work feels more productive. Parenting feels more present. The inclination to participate in intense arguments with unknown individuals online has nearly vanished.

The narrative is a strong indicator that minor adjustments can lead to significant outcomes in how we handle our interaction with technology. Yet, it highlights the evolution of Instagram over time, which may not always be heading in a positive trajectory. "Instagram has indeed experienced notable transformations during the 12 years of my usage," she remarked. The development of the photo-sharing software has evolved it into a diverse blend of content types, spanning from lengthy movies to temporary Stories to algorithm-based Reels. The increasing complexity of the platform, combined with the necessity to drive income through user interaction, has resulted in a scenario that seems deliberately designed to encourage addictive behaviors. Given this context, choosing to take a step back may be perceived as a form of disobedience.

Indeed, the issue of social media addiction does not have a universal answer that applies to everyone. Strategies that were effective for this mother in California may not provide the same results for everyone. There are options such as adhering to stricter time limits or setting aside specific "phone-free" hours daily that can provide comfort to certain individuals. Some individuals can find value in a complete social media detox or in redirecting their attention towards specialized, community-oriented networks. To effectively address the matter, embracing a mindset characterized by curiosity and self-compassion is essential. It's important to acknowledge that our interaction with technology is highly individual and continuously changing.

Ultimately, this mother's narrative illustrates the effectiveness of establishing goals and remaining committed to them. This serves as a reminder that we have the ability to take action against Big Tech, even though it might seem challenging at times. Through intentional decisions regarding our interactions with social media, we may gradually regain a feeling of empowerment and manage our time and focus more effectively. We have the ability to harness Instagram as a platform for fostering connections and drawing inspiration instead of being controlled by it.

In the broader context, the daily deletion ritual of this specific mother may appear as a small, inconsequential action. However, it signifies a greater concept: a readiness to challenge the current situation, to push back against the influence of the digital realm when it ceases to benefit us. This is a subtle form of defiance in a culture that is placing a growing emphasis on requiring our continual, complete focus.

One day, it is possible that this mother will eventually stop using Instagram entirely. Maybe one day, she will awaken and come to the realization that she no longer has the urge to record and broadcast every aspect of her life. Until that day arrives, she - as well as all of us - can find solace in the understanding that change is achievable, one minor limit at a time.

Amidst the chaos of the world, there is strength in the straightforward action of pressing "delete." It serves as a reminder that regardless of how deeply rooted our habits may seem, we always possess the capacity to begin anew. To regain our time, our energy, and our identity. To carve out additional room for the things that hold genuine significance.

Consider this a little push, a quiet word of support: If you've also been stuck in the pattern of constant checking and scrolling, remember that you're not the only one. Rest assured, there is a solution, even if it may seem difficult to perceive from your current vantage point. Understand that you deserve a life that is mindful, purposeful, and authentic to your actual self.

Everything begins with a single action - in our scenario, a single deletion. What you do next is entirely within your control. 

Popular

Charges still years away in London's deadly 2017 housing blaze

Criminal charges over a blaze that ravaged London's Grenfell Tower in 2017, killing 72 people, remain years away, with 58 people and 19 firms and organisations

Charges still years away in London's deadly 2017 housing blaze

LA police probe how 'Friends' star Matthew Perry obtained lethal ketamine dose

Los Angeles homicide detectives and federal agents are investigating how "Friends" star Matthew Perry obtained the high dose of the powerful prescription drug

LA police probe how 'Friends' star Matthew Perry obtained lethal ketamine dose

Parents of German-Israeli woman whose body found in Gaza thankful to have a grave

German-Israeli Shani Louk's father says that finally laying his daughter to rest will be a gift after her body was recovered from

Parents of German-Israeli woman whose body found in Gaza thankful to have a grave

Uvalde, Texas, to pay $2 million to families of school shooting victims

The city of Uvalde has reached a $2 million settlement with families of the victims of a 2022 mass shooting at a public school in the Texas city, one of their lawyers said on Wednesday,

Uvalde, Texas, to pay $2 million to families of school shooting victims

UN migration agency estimates more than 670 killed in Papua New Guinea landslide

The International Organization for Migration has increased its estimate of the death toll from a massive landslide in Papua New Guinea to more than 670

UN migration agency estimates more than 670 killed in Papua New Guinea landslide

Related

Lilly invests further $5.3 billion in new Indiana site as obesity drug demand soars

Lilly invests further $5.3 billion in new Indiana site as obesity drug demand soars

Chile accuses volunteer firefighter and ex-forestry official with causing huge fire that killed 137

Chile accuses volunteer firefighter and ex-forestry official with causing huge fire that killed 137

Trump, accustomed to friendly crowds, confronts repeated booing during Libertarian convention speech

Trump, accustomed to friendly crowds, confronts repeated booing during Libertarian convention speech

Groups fight California attorney general's document demands in plastics pollution probe

Groups fight California attorney general's document demands in plastics pollution probe
- Advertisement -
Advertisement: Limited Time Offer