The Crunchy Mom: Anti-Social Media

(Illustration: Onya Hogan-Finlay)

We need to talk about social media.

Here is my dilemma. I hate it. It’s bad for the fabric of our society. It’s decimating our mental health. It is terrible for our children’s health…and yet. And yet. I’m on it, you’re probably on it. We can’t stop. We have been hacked. 

A month ago, I deleted my entire Instagram page and declared I was “on a break.” Except I haven’t really been. I have deleted the app off my phone probably 10 times in the last 30 days, sneaking on to bathe in the dopamine-wave that is Instagram Reels every now and again. 

I don’t think I would care as much as I do if I didn’t have two sets of young eyes watching my every move. I don’t want them to see my head down, zombie-like scrolling. I don’t want them to feel like they must compete with an inanimate object for my attention. I also DESPERATELY don’t want them to use social media. Preferably ever but definitely not until they are well into their teens. 

I have to ask myself if it’s fair that I have social media and they won’t be allowed? Is it fair I share their faces and lives before they can consent? How do I – and we – balance sharing our joy while protecting their privacy?

Rules, such as only using social media when they’re asleep, have helped. Honestly, even sporadically deleting the app off my phone has helped. 

As humans we only do things that feel good, so if it feels good to go on a walk with your head up, dig out a physical map on your next road trip or dust off your film camera, you’ll likely do that. You might even see local events like Food for Thought promoted on posters around town. This initiative brings people together to discuss a topic over a meal. How different are our conversations in real life than online? Much more nuanced, much less vitriolic. 

 If I could offer some unsolicited advice, (every mom’s favourite, I know) it would be to just use social media less and see how that feels. 

My friend recently told me I can’t complain about something I use. And I know she’s right. I like to see if my favourite cafe is open on snow days and hear about local programming. I am building a new business and need to get the word out. Ironically, I LOVE seeing my friends’ new babies and hearing about their family vacation. There is a lot of good there too. 

Hence, the dilemma of living with something we love to hate…and hate to love. 


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