Is Social Media Distracting You from What Matters Most?
June 2024

Digital Only: Young Adults

Is Social Media Distracting You from What Matters Most?

Learning to use social media more wisely helped me focus more on Jesus Christ.

young adults being distracted by their phones

Sometimes I think I’m a little distracted.

Here in Peru, there are parts of our culture that can distract us from following the Savior and His gospel. For example, many Peruvians are often distracted with partying and drinking—it’s almost required if you want to have a social life.

The biggest distraction for me, though, is social media.

The Struggle of Social Media

Technology is a fantastic tool for communication and learning. But for some of us, it can become an obsession. We might spend hours curating our social media profiles, watching videos, and commenting on posts.

While it’s easy to be chronically online these days, Sister Rebecca L. Craven, former Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, taught: “It takes effort to stay focused on what is truly essential for lasting joy. … I invite each of us to prayerfully consider those things that distract us from doing what matter[s] most.”

And it’s true! Sometimes I turn to social media to take my mind off something hard or to seek validation from videos and comments.

When this happens, I have to pull back and ask myself, “Am I focusing on spiritual things as much as I am on social media?”

Bishop W. Christopher Waddell, First Counselor in the Presiding Bishopric, warned us about having idols, like social media, that turn us away from the Lord. He reminded us that our hero “is Jesus Christ, and anything or anyone that distracts us from His teachings … can negatively impact our progress on the covenant path.”

What can we do to make sure we are focusing on what matters most?

Prioritizing What Matters Most

Social media isn’t all bad. Yes, it can be a source of negativity and contention. But I’ve made some amazing friends from around the world through my social media platforms. It’s also a great tool for sharing and receiving gospel messages, finding new recipes, or getting creative craft ideas.

But it’s important to keep in mind what our priorities should be. When referring to social media and other uses of our time, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First Presidency, said: “Of course it is good to view wholesome entertainment or to obtain interesting information. But not everything of that sort is worth the portion of our life we give to obtain it. Some things are better, and others are best.”

Just like we should feed ourselves with a well-balanced meal before having dessert, we should also feed ourselves spiritually before spending time on social media.

As President M. Russell Ballard (1928–2023) of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles counseled us, “Remember what matters most”: our relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ, our family, our neighbors, and our willingness to follow the promptings of the Spirit and be converted to the Lord.

The Power of Prayer

The scriptures teach us that we can talk to Heavenly Father about anything and that He will always help guide us in the right direction: “Counsel with the Lord in all thy doings, and he will direct thee for good” (Alma 37:37).

When I have trials to endure or decisions to make, I turn to Him. And because one of my biggest struggles is how much of my life I dedicate to social media, He is the perfect source of help for that too.

Whether we like it or not, social media is a big part of our lives, so cutting it out completely might be unrealistic. But we can control how we use it—what we take in and put out into the world.

Ask Heavenly Father what guidelines you should follow to help you focus more on what matters most. When I did, He helped me know what kinds of questions I should ask myself before posting to make sure I’m making social media a spiritual space for me.

He will also strengthen you as you begin to build better habits. Pray for help, and He will give it to you. Because when the Lord commands us to do something, He will help us achieve it (see 1 Nephi 3:7). He will help us overcome difficulties and continue onward.

Building Better Habits

Little by little, I’m making changes in my life. Normally I’m someone who gets up in the morning and immediately reaches for my phone. But recently I’ve been trying to put the Lord first. I make sure to pray, read my scriptures, and spend time with my family before using my phone.

If you’re struggling with the distraction of social media, consider setting goals to regulate your time. Put time limits on your social media use and stick to those boundaries. Make goals to complete other tasks first. For example, decide that you need to read a chapter of the Book of Mormon or clean your room or go on a run before you touch your phone. Always write down your specific goals and keep track of your progress.

When we do choose to use social media, we should strive toward sharing and consuming only things that can be uplifting. Elder David A. Bednar of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles suggests that we be authentic and use social media to be examples of Christ.

Through social media, you can illuminate others’ lives with the light of Christ in this confusing world. Be attentive and careful, and use it for good, not evil.

And always, always choose what matters most—your relationships with Heavenly Father, the Savior, and your family—first.