How our Book "101 Things To Do Other Than Social Media" Came to Be!

Going to junior high was an exciting time for my daughter. Initially, it was great, all the new kids, a bigger campus, new schedules with changing classes every hour, and meeting new friends.

Quickly, something changed. The excitement wore off, and then ... all the major changes converged at once!

Changes in each kid happening PLUS all the competing fashions of what to wear and what not to wear, kids beginning to work themselves into "older and more mature" versions of themselves and whatever that may bring. Each experience is different for each kid. Some kids just loved junior high, and some kids just did not.

Whatever the story, we learned to build our skills through this special time, re-set when needed, and define and define again our values and what is and is not appropriate for us.

Part of this entire junior high experience was the focus on social media posts and all that comes with that world. We often found that social media was a problem at this age, even though social media has wonderful applications when used for business building, creating positive communities, and sharing helpful info.

From what I saw, the addiction kids had to social media and seeing what others are doing and with whom, feuding duels like Twitter wars, the obsession with how many likes and how fast, the FOMO (fear of missing out), and the ways all of this can make kids feel inferior, undesirable, unloved, and unwanted ...well, I saw that we needed to focus elsewhere and just ignore it all for a time.

Our book "101 Things to Do Other than Social Media" came from this junior high experience. We wrote down all the great things we will do instead of social media, and we would do it without posting about it!

We would go "old school" and just do stuff without letting the world know!

It started as a just list of ideas on what to do, and then it grew into something more as we realized the power of these simple activities. Building skills, becoming more interesting by having more knowledge, more in-depth vocabulary … we started to feel the Napoleon Dynamite vibes as our experiences were creating a cool confidence within us - both for my daughter and for me as a parent! (Little did I know then that parents, too, have FOMO and insecurities!)

A Change of Focus is Beneficial. With a list of great ideas, we were able to plan lots of activities and do things we normally would not do. This process of re-training our focus was establishing new positive habits, as opposed to all our waking hours being overly concerned with who was doing what on social media.

Grow new Brain Pathways. The movie "Inside Out" was timely and had perfect information for us all. To this day, it is still one of my husband's favorite movies! What a great visual to show what we all feel inside at different times and how our brains can benefit from new experiences. Our new activities kept us moving outside of our comfort zone, and even the seemingly "dumb" activities proved to be fun and beneficial.

Slowing down the pace of life and taking time to enjoy family and friends in new ways was wonderful. My mom was able to teach my daughter to crochet during this time, and they enjoyed a closer relationship. Having time to read and process deeply profound and difficult books like “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave” and “Animal Farm” was beneficial for us all. Books can be life-changing as we discover the “Power of the Pen!”

We were able to have family dinners and family conversations without all the "peer pressure." When we unplugged from social media for a few seasons, anxiety dissipated, confidence grew, and our relationships improved, as well as our communication skills.

Our successes during this time made us realize we could share the info with the world and hopefully help others who may struggle with social media issues.

Fast forward a decade later and my daughter is working for her dream companies in Marketing and Business, managing social media accounts! She has a healthy perspective on this powerful media and uses it for good! With the power under control, use for good, and proper perspective, we love social media!

The movies "Napoleon Dynamite" and "Inside Out" gave us great talking points. Have some discussions about social media platforms, peer pressure, societal pressure, social media posting pressure, etc. Try unplugging from social media for a season. Reset. Re-evaluate. We are not experts, and we are not perfect, but we have learned a few things. Like us, maybe unplugging for a season will be some of your best times!

You, too, can unplug from social media for a season. Make it a family commitment if that works for your household.

Buy our book “101 Things to do other than Social Media” and use the ideas as a checklist or inspiration to create your own ideas. See what feelings and possible resistance come up from even considering unplugging from social media for a season or two.