The Seven Rainbow Monsters of Unhealthy Phone Use: Monster #1 Anger

I have started writing about some unhealthy phone habits on my Facebook account, but I  thought it might be beneficial to make these more public. Today there will be two posts because I started this project yesterday:

I was given the task of writing about the different ways technologically addictive behaviour or just plain bad habits when it comes to phone use can negatively affect our mental health, relationships, and well-being. Each day for the next week, I will be posting a different coloured monster with a description of what that monster can become and look like if left unchecked.

Today, I would like to introduce you to the red monster. He goes by many names including rage, annoyance and resentment, however, he is best known as ANGER.
As a noun anger is defined as “a strong feeling of annoyance, displeasure or hostility.” As a verb, anger refers to provoking, irritating, or exasperating someone else.”
Many of us have experienced anger at various points in our lives and oftentimes the anger is justified. Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion, rather it can be helpful in pointing out areas in our lives where we have been wronged or treated unfairly and with injustice. However, anger can become a problem when it robs us of our peace of mind, impacts our sleep, or causes us to lash out at another human being physically or emotionally.
One of the jobs I had in the past was being an au pair (nanny) to 3 young children with varying disabilities. One of the children was three years old and was given one hour to use her IPad.Her mother had no issues with this at all and had been setting an example by playing on her own IPad and phone all day. When the time ended for the girl to be using technology, I let her know. I had given her a 10 minute warning and then a 5 minute warning. I let the girl know that in 2 minutes we would be ending to play outside. I still remember the girl screaming and kicking while I more or less wrestled the IPad out of her hands. She was in a full out rage at technology being taken away from her. Internet and app addiction had already clenched her in its awful grips. The girl and her siblings had become zombies to the technological apocalypse.
Most of us as adults would not have responded in such an overt temper-tantrum type way, but many of us still respond negatively when technology is taken from our grasp. We may react with panic and anxiety when we leave our phones at home. We may become restless and distracted in conversations thinking that we have lost something valuable even though we know we’re just missing out on superficial likes and debates. Many of us have snapped at friends, coworkers or partners when they have asked us to do something in the midst of our mindless scrolling. We might not have overtly yelled at them but our tone of voice and body language conveyed annoyance at being ripped from the latest Candy Crush game. Some of us have felt our blood boiling at night after a long day debating the latest politically controversial point on Facebook. Whether for or against we will always come up against opponents and sometimes those internet debates can turn nasty with name calling and borderline hate speech. Even if our controversial posts remain civil, we can still find ourselves making straw men and poking holes at the other person’s ideologies rather than walking away. One of the phenomena of our time is that if someone doesn’t like what we say they can simply unfriend or block us with a single click of a mouse. Years of built up relationships, years of friendship, years of good times spent together, can be destroyed simply because someone doesn’t like what we have to say and they can do it all by a simple mouse click rather than a sit down conversation or phone call explaining what went wrong. When this happens and we realize we have been unfollowed or unfriended it just further fuels our anger and upset making us think negatively towards that person. Suddenly an otherwise good day has filled us with anger and bitterness. It robs our sleep as we think about the best comebacks for the day ahead and how we will continue to be crusaders for whatever cause no one else seems to get but us.
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To help combat the anger we can feel over Facebook posts, I would like to leave you with “The 10 Commandments of Using Social Media” adapted from the book #struggles by Craig Groeshel:
  1. Think about how what you are going to say or post will benefit the other person
  2. Love others the way you want to be loved
  3. Use social media to facilitate, not replace, real relationships
  4. Use social media instead of being controlled by it as an idol
  5. Turn your virtual other cheek to posts that offend you
  6. Do not post out of emotion
  7. Always reflect love whether online or off
  8. Do not use social media to fuel temptations
  9. Form your own opinions, do not follow the crowd
  10. Do not base your identity on what people think
Social media can be used for a lot of good. Whether keeping in touch with family and friends, making people laugh, educating and informing people, or even the occasional advocacy, however, it has to be done in the right way. People will not change their minds due to anger, fear, or endless debates. People will come to a healthier view of themselves by seeing our positivity and the ways we react in a healthy manner towards challenging people and posts. Tomorrow we will talk about the Orange Monster…until then, hope you all have a great day

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