Irish people encouraged to join ‘Facebook Free February’

Could you log off Facebook for a month? A week? A day even? What would it mean to you to just sit and wait for your bus without having you’re phone to preoccupy your thoughts? Could you sit into the feeling of discomfort of being left, for the briefest of periods, exposed in a public place?

What is FFF?

Irish people encouraged to join 'Facebook Free February'
Facebook Free February is a movement of people reimagining their connection with social media.
We believe in the power of social media. However, we want to challenge ourselves to get off Facebook and to get out into the real world as much as possible for the month of February.

Why February?
Alliteration! It’s also the shortest month of the year, making the challenge that bit easier! We hope that a month of abstinence will allow people gain a better understanding of their relationship with Facebook and social media; of how it affects their friendships, their moods, their thought patterns and their interaction with the “real” world. We hope that FFF enables and empowers people to make better choices about how they interact with their virtual world.

Many studies have shown the negative mental health effects of social media usage including anxiety, depression and loneliness. The Happiness Research Institute in Denmark published a study called “The Facebook Experiment”. We’ve pulled a few interesting facts from it:

People on Facebook are 55% more likely to feel stressed.
People taking a break from Facebook are 18% more likely to feel present in the moment.
After one week without Facebook, people felt they wasted their time less.
People on Facebook are 39% more likely to feel less happy than their friends
How To Do It
The number of people partaking in the movement is growing year on year and we hope it keeps doing so. If you’d like to take on the Facebook Free February challenge, here’s how:
Prior to the 1st of February, set your profile photo to the FFF logo (can be found on the website) to promote the movement.
If you’re feeling literary, why not write a short status giving your reasons for participating in FFF and maybe inspire others to take on the challenge also…
Challenge friends and family to a Facebook Free February.
On the 31st of January, deactivate your profile. Or just don’t log in for the month. We find that deactivation makes it easier on oneself.
Enjoy your Facebook free month! Walk. Talk. Rest. Sing. Write. Paint. Cook. Dance. Use your new found time and mental freedom however you like!

FFF is a chance to live a month free of Facebook – giving you more time for yourself and more headspace. Re-imagine your relationship with yourself, family and friends. Go for a walk. Read. Write. Dance. Cook. Workout. Do whatever it is you like doing or have always wanted to do.

Take back your power over the virtual world.

Just disconnect and log back into you.

QUOTES from people who’ve completed a Facebook Free February

“My mind feels freer and less distracted; new thoughts and ideas have been popping into my head. My creativity has been given a boost.”

“My life is busy and I’ve got great friends. I don’t miss out on anything I’d be missed at. I guess that’s a nice feeling. George Bernard Shaw – the writer, not the pub with the pizza bus – once said ‘It’s better to see rightly on a pound a week than to squint on a million’. I think the squinting we do staring at our tiny screens can makes us feel rich and fat, like kings convinced we are loved by many… but it does more to blind us from what is really valuable, in our lives and in ourselves. I’d rather be a wide-eyed nobody than a squinty King.”

“What is hardest is trying to resist the temptation to pick up the phone for no particular reason in a millisecond of boredom when I am in the company of others. The reflex keeps on rearing its head in the most unexpected of moments. I have successfully resisted, but it strikes me as strange that this is the habit that is proving the hardest to kick.”

Why I do it by organiser Diarmuid Sexton

“I got involved with the Facebook Free February movement when my friend Diarmuid Lyng mentioned the idea to me on a December evening in 2014. As a web designer, I was happy to lend my expertise to help bring the idea to fruition. I found it hard to believe when we googled the name “Facebook Free February” that the domain name or something like it didn’t already exist!

The problems associated with social media use and misuse are becoming more and more prevalent in society. Studies and research into the subject convey the dangers and negative effects of social media on our mental well-being and our relationships. I think that many people are aware of their negative social media usage habits but seem indifferent and reluctant to take any steps towards fostering a healthier relationship with their digital worlds.

Initially, I wanted to get involved in FFF for personal reasons. I wanted to become more mindful and less compulsive when scrolling through Facebook. I wanted to spend time without my Facebook “feed” and see if I still felt “fed”. I wanted to go to bed at nighttime without the need for one more scroll. And I wanted to wake up the following morning to my own thoughts and not some news article or photo or video of something altogether irrelevant and detached from my current state which stirs some strange emotion in my belly for no good reason.

I also wanted to help raise awareness around the issue and hopefully encourage my family and friends to take step into the obscurities of social media for the short month February so that maybe they too could see how Facebook affects their day to day lives. Many of them did take the plunge and the feedback was all really positive. It seems that the month of abstinence allows people to see the wood for the trees and allows them to create healthy, lasting changes to their social media consumption habits.”

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