What I Discovered When I Disconnected from Social Media
March 2024

“What I Discovered When I Disconnected from Social Media,” Liahona, Mar. 2024.

What I Discovered When I Disconnected from Social Media

Decreasing my social media use has allowed me to be more present for my children and improve my relationship with the Savior.

woman holding disconnected wires, while social media icons float around her

Illustration by David Green

For the last few years, I knew that God was prompting me to step away from social media. I knew that breaks from social media were great for me, but I also knew that I enjoyed the community that I found there. I didn’t know how to reconcile these two things; I just knew that something had to change.

I read a book that caused me to ponder the question, “How much time on social media is the right amount to provide the benefit of the community, without all the negative influences?” For me, the answer to this question was about 20 minutes … a month. I set a goal to make this happen, and with the help of the Lord, it was easier than I thought. The thing I didn’t expect was how much this change would strengthen my relationship with my Savior. I came to better feel the love that the Savior has for me; I have come to understand more clearly the plan He has for me; and I have come to see the needs of the people around me more clearly.

Not Letting Selfies Determine My Self-Worth

I have always known that I am a child of God and that He loves me. I have felt the love of my Savior during difficult times in my life. But too often I was letting social media dictate how I saw and thought of myself. As much as I tried to convince myself that the idealistic images on social media didn’t affect me, it turns out they did. Decreasing my time on social media allowed me the mental peace and quiet that I needed to hear the Savior telling me how He felt about me. I didn’t realize how much I had missed hearing His voice until I created more space for Him to be there.

I have always believed in the plan of salvation. I know that Jesus Christ is central to that plan. But I also believe that Heavenly Father has a plan for each of us individually. Larry M. Gibson, former First Counselor in the Young Men General Presidency, taught, “I know that Heavenly Father is concerned about each of us individually and has a personal plan for us to achieve our eternal destiny.”1

I spent a lot of time scrolling to try and figure out what my purpose was. Being on social media gave me a front row seat to all the creative, wonderful things people were doing. I learned a lot from these people, but I spent a lot more time seeking than doing. Since stepping away from social media, I have felt guided to know specifically what Heavenly Father would have me do. Many of these things have been surprising and different from what I thought they would be, but they have made my life richer and more abundant.

The Savior came so that we might have life and that we might have it more abundantly (see John 10:10). I’m grateful for the nudges that the Holy Ghost gives to us to help us have a more abundant life.

Life beyond the Screen

The Savior saw those who escaped others’ notice. I love reading stories about Him ministering to such people and teaching them their worth. Spending too much time on social media hindered me from really seeing people in my own life, including my family. I realized that if my children weren’t feeling seen by me, then they would soon be looking to outside sources to validate their worth.

I have been amazed at the love that I have for my children as I have been more present with them. I have loved my role as a mother more this last year than ever before. I have gotten to know neighbors and have been more active in my community. My opportunities for service have increased. I thought that social media was helping me to be more aware, but in reality I wasn’t living in the moment enough to really see the needs of those around me.

Decreasing my social media use seemed like a small and simple thing, but it has allowed me to greatly increase my faith and improve my relationship with my Savior. I know that Heavenly Father loves us, has a plan for us, and has children who need to feel seen by us too.

The author lives in New York, USA.