What Boundaries Can I Place On My Social Media? 

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By: Megan Gover

Boundaries are good. If you've ever been on a cruise, you know the balcony rail keeps you from falling overboard. In relationships, we put physical boundaries in place to honor the Lord with our bodies and hearts. Even the Lord set boundaries with His people throughout the Bible. However, the one thing we probably use the most--social media--often goes unchecked. 

If you've ever clicked on someone's Instagram bio and ended up on an online rabbit trail hours later, you are sadly not alone! However, most of us live with phones in hand while our time using social media gets out of hand. 

So, if you are tired of allowing technology to rule your time, here are some practical tips to setting boundaries in place around the why, when, and how you use platforms like Instagram and Snapchat.  

BOUNDARIES FOR TIME LIMITS 

Use your phone's capabilities to limit your time. On an iPhone, go to Settings > Screen Time. From there, you can select Downtime hours--meaning you get to choose when your phone denies access to certain apps. You can also set App Limits for the amount of time you want to be able to spend on social media sites. {P.S. There is the option to set up content and privacy restrictions for adult/inappropriate content. And we highly recommend using this!} 

For Android users, there are free apps you can download, such as StayFocused App Block or Sage Lagoon to set in similar phone restrictions. 

Regardless of the type of phone you have, allow technology to help you. Though technology can become a problem in how we use it, it is also can restrict our use of it as well! 

Use an old-school alarm clock. I often check my phone before I check my heart for the day. And it usually starts my day off my wrong! Find an old alarm clock, use it to wake you up in the mornings, and charge your phone outside of the room you sleep in. A simple solution with powerful benefits! 


BOUNDARIES FOR HOW WE USE SOCIAL MEDIA  

Remove all temptation. If you are having difficulty in using your time wisely due to social media, it might mean for a season taking the distraction away wholly. Buy a flip phone. Delete your apps off your phone. Make your Instagram inactive for a while. It doesn't mean this is a solution forever. However, taking drastic measures like fasting from your phone will increase your time and heart space to feast on the Word of God. 

Redeem the time. Want to know if social media has become an idol? Look at the time you spent on your phone versus your time with the Lord. The average person spends at least an hour and a half on social media a day. You can do a lot in 90 minutes! Go to the gym. Meet a friend at Starbucks. Open your Bible to seek the Lord intentionally. Redeem the time you waste by putting your time to good use! Spend time with others--including the Lord.

Imagine if you spent an hour and a half with the Lord every day! How would it transform your heart? How would you live differently as a disciple? I believe it would begin to make Psalm 84:1-2 take root in your life. It says: "How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God." (NIV) 

If you want to start studying Scripture more but don't know where to start, download our Minted Truth App and get started studying one of our New Testament, Old Testament, or Topical Studies


BOUNDARIES FOR WHY WE USE SOCIAL MEDIA  

Create a checklist of questions to ask yourself before you text, post, or share. It's hard to pinpoint every motive behind why we post. However, it's essential to ask yourself hard questions about your intentions. Most of our social media woes boil down between one of three A's: affirmation, acceptance, or accomplishment. Let's look at these closer. 


Affirmation

Affirmation is a big, ole word defining our desire to feel positively confirmed and validated. Sadly, we seek confirmation in social media, posting a picture on social media to boost our confidence. But unfortunately, our worth tends to fall and rise with how well our profile is perceived. 

To safeguard against others' reactions forming our identity, we need to ask ourselves some of the following questions: 

  • Is this picture fishing for any compliment--physically, emotionally, or spiritually? 

    • Do I want to be told I'm beautiful/hot/gorgeous/perfect if I post this picture? Will I feel bad if no one tells me these things? 

    • Does my caption affirm I'm a witty/funny/punny person who makes others laugh? Why do I value humor so much? 

    • Am I posting this for others to see how spiritually insightful or Jesus-loving I am? 

  • Is this representing Christ well? Or am I glorifying myself?

  • Will my identity rise or fall due to the reaction of this post? 

If your answers to the questions above point towards seeking affirmation from others, it's time to remind yourself of some biblical truth. Our pursuit for affirmation needs to come from the one person who our identity is secured in--Christ. Find verses for whatever lie you allow social media to tell you and post it everywhere--your mirror, your car, or your binder!

Acceptance 

Finding a group of friends is hard throughout middle school and high school. Adding another weird layer of internet popularity only adds to the pressure of fitting in or feeling loved. Seeking acceptance from others creates a vicious cycle of compromising the truth of who we are and what we believe. To live a life of integrity, ask yourself these questions to see if you are seeking acceptance: 

  • What am I trying to make myself think about myself by posting this photo? 

  • What am I trying to make others believe about myself if I post this photo? 

  • Am I exchanging likes, comments, and follows as true friendship? 

  • Is this post outside of the realm of biblical truth? Am I posting something against God's Word to better fit in? 

  • Does this post glorify sin {sending a nude, posting about drinking/smoking/drugs, showcasing your body inappropriately, gossiping}? Why do I believe this post will make me feel more accepted, even if it's not acceptable to the Lord? 

Striving for acceptance--both in-person and online--distracts us from the acceptance we have with the Lord. We can never earn our place with Christ. However, we can strive to "do [our] best to present [ourselves] to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth." [2 Timothy 2:15] If we seek affirmation from God's Word, our hearts can shift from seeking acceptance in others to welcoming others into the Kingdom of God through the Gospel! 

Accomplishment 

We should take joy in our hard work. However, being proud of our achievements is different than being prideful about them. One rejoices in the result while the other lords success over others heads. Think through these questions to check your heart: 

  • Am I bragging or humble bragging to showcase how accomplished I am as a student/athlete/musician/singer to feel better about myself?

  • Is the purpose of this photo meant to highlight my possessions/lifestyle/trip?

  • Could this post be perceived as me thinking I'm better than anyone else? 

  • What do I hope people know about me after seeing this post?

Showcasing your accomplishments can become a slippery slope. Evaluating your worth by your work creates heartache--especially when failure comes a-knocking. Rejoice in your work, but also rest in knowing God did the greatest work on the Cross by paying for your sin! 


Overall, these are some fail-safes we can put in place to honor the Lord with our time, heart, and social media use. Social media is a gift, but if we don't place boundaries on our use of it, it can easily steal our real-life presence with others and the Lord! Tell us below about the ways you limit social media or other apps to help you set boundaries on your phone!

Megan GoverComment