OPINION: Social Media Free Sundays

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(WAIPAHU-MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2016)--Talofa lava my Samoa, in Samoa, America and across the world. Yesterday was the first Sunday since making the commitment to give up social media on the Sabbath Day and well, look at me, miraculously, I survived.

I shared my choice to go social media-free with a sister of mine at church while we were both sitting in class.

"I'm staying off social media on Sundays," I told her as she scrolled through her Facebook newsfeed.

"Good luck!," she exclaimed. We are both mothers, leaders in our Young Women's Program and "Facebook friends." We are two of many women, mothers, on Facebook.

Most people I'm connected with on Facebook are accustomed to my lds.org posts, news story posts, commentary on all kinds of things, semi-angry rants, etc. which occur in between reading, cooking, feeding children, cleaning house, washing/hanging laundry, grocery shopping, yelling at and tending to children, running errands, picking flowers, changing diapers and that sort of thing.

I laugh out loud a lot, I hardly ever read my Facebook newsfeed because I make it a point to read news from journalists and I post a lot of songs from YouTube. Songs and laughter are the absolute best medicine. That's why you see a lot of it spewing from my Twitter and Facebook accounts. If we are connected, you will also know that I'm prone to telling off Twitter and Facebook when the unexplainable happens with my posts. I do it so much, my brother in Las Vegas messaged me on Facebook to tell me to stop. I told him not to worry, "it's just work stuff."

If Twitter is not in the business of preventing accounts on their site from harassing others with lewd photographs and the like, obviously users like me are faced with that task.

Take for instance the account with the name @420CandyBar who liked one of my Tweets one day. As I usually do when I receive a new Twitter "follower" or "like", I clicked on the link to the account and what do I see? Photos of a naked woman in a bath tub. A hashtag on one of the photos read something about #Breasts. It would not have been such a big deal but my five and seven-year-old daughters were next to me.

"Mommy! What is she doing putting pictures like that of herself on there?," my seven-year-old asked. She and her five-year-old sister looked at each other in disbelief. "Ewwww! She's naked!"

I promptly blocked the account.

I won't apologize to anyone behind the numerous accounts I've blocked over the past few weeks. Account names include @SLU Injection, @BeyondBeanie and a bunch of others. It's a simple process of elimination: if I don't know who it is and I have no way of discerning whether the account is "safe" -- or not -- the account is blocked. Because anyone can be who they want on Twitter, I'm left with little room to judge the safety of one account compared to the next. To save myself and my children (because they are around me a lot when I'm online) from nonsense information to include naked lady pictures, I use the block option a lot.

I lecture my children about the internet. I told them that it could be anyone behind a screen posting photos of that palagi woman on Twitter. If it was that actual woman who we saw in the photos -- we will never know.

I often wonder where America, as a nation, is heading when user information from "Tech Giants" like Twitter and Facebook are considered credible sources -- but photos of a naked woman in a bath tub, being viewed by my daughters -- go unchecked.

Is this what we want our daughters, our girls and young women to see? Is this today's American norm?

I may not be able to control these sites but I've voluntarily given myself a break from navigating all the unceasing nonsense that comes my way via social media when I'm doing the simplest things on their sites -- like sharing YouTube videos and news links, mostly from the Samoa Observer. I'm not just sharing them, I'm also gauging the behavior of these sites in response to what I am posting.

People have it all wrong. You don't "keep up" with social media. You're the consumer, the end-user. Be sure they're keeping up with you. If it gets too irking or obscene, simply shut it off.

I enjoyed my social media-free, zero-stress Sunday. Try it. You'll thank me for it.

Thank you for your time. Thank you for reading. Have a fabulous week and God bless!