COLUMN: Regular parenting columnist Reah Marshall talks social media

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I was listening to Radio 1’s newsbeat last month and they had just completed a study on social media addiction with teenagers.

Some of the questions included; How often do you check your phone? How do you feel when you receive a notification? How would you feel if you didn’t have your phone for a day? What feeling do you get when you have a tweet favourited several times or a photo liked on Instagram?

The responses were along the lines of, “I know it’s sad but I like that people find my comments/tweets/pictures funny, I get a buzz from it” and I suddenly realised that I was relating to this.

I have to admit, I have recently been questioning whether I may have an addiction to Social Media, and this study made me begin to question the time I spend on sites such as Twitter and Instagram (which are my favourites). I realised that I do continually check my phone throughout the day, that I get excited when I hear my phone ‘ping’ with notifications and I get annoyed when I’m unable to access my phone for too long.

I needed to reassess what was important in life, and that is my family, so I am learning to control my habits with social media. However, I don’t watch much TV (and definitely not soaps), so my argument is that often, social media is my way of unwinding after work.

Through Twitter (for instance), I have gained a lot of friends, parenting advice and it even helped me to secure this Derbyshire Times column. On the back of this, I have also created my own parenting blog.

I wouldn’t want to give these things up, but I now control my usage rather than allowing the platforms to control me. My phone isn’t allowed at the dinner table, nor when I am with my son, so I ensure that I can still enjoy social media but at the times when it’s suitable and I make sure to not let it interfere with my routine as a mum. It isn’t for everyone, but as long as you can manage it, social media can be a fantastic friend to have.