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(page 48) AUGUST 2014

LITTLE PARENT ON THE PRAIRIE by Tracy Kirby

I looked up from my Instagram trance and could faintly make out the shape of my petite toddler in front of me trying frantically to get my attention.

bio: Tracy Kirby’s roots and heart are in the Hawaiian Islands, but destiny has led her to the prairie. She is a wandering traveler, a wife to a dashing Sioux Falls native, a mother to a 2-year-old daughter and 145-pound bear puppy, a freelance writer, and a lover of souls.

WHY I DON’T INSTAGRAM AND OTHER LIMITS ON SOCIAL MEDIA

See Tracy and Avianna on pg. 58.

Illustration by Liz Long.

My thumb was cramping, but I couldn’t find the mental strength to stop. My eyes felt like there were minuscule-sized bees stinging the surface, but yet I couldn’t look away from the tiny, glowing 3x4 screen. Scrolling. Tapping. Scrolling. Tapping. Grimacing. Judging. Counting “the likes” on someone’s picture. Wishing there was a “dislike” on another person’s picture. Feeling jealous. Feeling annoyed. Feeling inspired. You know, the typical bursts of subconscious feelings all of us fellow social media-ites experience during a “social media binge session.” On this particular day, I was downstairs “playing” with my daughter in her playroom. At some point, I picked up my phone and robotically opened up Instagram and began catching up on the oh-so-important pictures of every-

one I followed. I don’t even know how long this particular binge session lasted until a tiny voice interrupted: “Mama color with me! Mama! Mama! COLOR!” I looked up from my Instagram trance and could faintly make out the shape of my petite toddler in front of me trying frantically to get my attention. Immediately, I was snapped back into REAL reality away from the doctored cyber reality I had just made my reality for the last few minutes. “Mommy, will you color with me?” A simple question from a tiny tot, but it had profound implications for me. It was that moment I realized I had a problem. The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem, right? So, here I am, publicly admitting that I have a social media addiction. Or, rather, I’m a recovering addict. After

the story above, I remember wondering how long I had zoned out and ignored my daughter’s simple plea to color with her. I then wondered how many times in the past I had done this and in effect sent her the underlying message that other people’s digital lives are more important or interesting than the life staring at me in the face. So, months ago, I deleted my Instagram and Facebook applications on my phone and I haven’t looked back. I’m still debating whether or not to keep my Facebook account, but it is still activated for now. Baby steps to recovery! Many of my fellow addicts may be thinking: “Blasphemy! How could one live without Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Tumblr, OH MY! This is, afterall, the Information Age.” And, I have to admit, at first it was strange.


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