A mum quit social media after she became so addicted she spent THREE HOURS every day using Facebook and Instagram – and wasn’t giving her children the attention they needed.
Charlotte New, 31, admits she was so “hooked” on the two websites she couldn’t watch a TV programme fully or help her kids with their homework properly.
It affected her relationships because she found herself scrolling through “pointless posts” rather than spending time with her children Leilah, eight and Theo, six.
Hairdresser Charlotte even found her mood plummeting when her photos didn’t get as many likes as her friends’ posts.
But it wasn’t until she received a notification on her phone telling her she was spending three hours a DAY on Facebook and Instagram that she decided enough was enough.
She deleted her accounts and the apps off her phone and said she felt “liberated”.
Nearly a month on, Charlotte, from Caldicot, Wales, said she now has an extra three hours with her kids a day, is chatting to them properly and feels more confident.
She said: “The kids did not get the attention they needed all of the time. Leilah did say to me a few times ‘mum get off your phone’.
“It was taking up all of my free time and I would be constantly scrolling and reading things that just weren’t important to me.
“I’d be watching TV and would have to rewind whatever I was watching because I had missed what was happening.
“I didn’t realise how bad it was at first. I was aimlessly scrolling and missing out on the important things in my life, like spending time with my kids properly.
“I never neglected them and I have always been a good mum, but when I was spending time with them I would get distracted by my phone.
“It doesn’t matter what I was doing I just couldn’t stay off my phone. It was almost a subconscious thing where I’d pick up my phone and start scrolling when we were together.
“Even when I was helping the kids with homework I’d sit there scrolling.
“I was horrified when I found out how much time I was spending on social media.
“All of a sudden I realised Facebook had a hold on me. It was an addiction.
“I realised that it was taking over my life because I was constantly scrolling and uploading photos of myself or whatever I was up to.
“I wasted a lot of time and the worst thing is the kids were not getting the attention they needed.
“I felt under a lot of peer pressure to put my life on Facebook and I used to get conscious about how many people liked my photos.
“It made me feel down, paranoid and low on confidence.”
Charlotte, who is married to brewery worker Christopher, 32, said Facebook and Instagram “had a hold” on her for a number of years.
She said her day-to-day routine would be dominated by spending several hours a day staring at her phone and looking at other people’s lives.
When her addiction was at its worst she could not resist opening up the apps on her phone as soon as she woke up in the morning and during breaks at work.
Even when she went home and was supposed to be spending time with Leilah and Theo, she admits she chose social media over them.
And when helping Theo with his school homework, Charlotte said she found it hard to resist picking up her phone.
Charlotte relied heavily on social media for her hairdressing business, meaning her phone was often glued to her hand.
Alongside marketing she said she would receive dozens of Facebook messages from customers asking about appointments.
A sudden change in her habits came when she looked into her iPhone’s ‘screen time’.
It showed she was spending between three hours every day on Facebook and Instagram.
The shocking stats made Charlotte realise social media was “taking over her life”.
So on December 23 last year she deleted her social media profiles and went ‘offline’.
“Social media is like a drug”
Charlotte said: “Even when we walked to school I’d be distracted by my phone and didn’t pay them the attention I should have.
“I got into the habit of scrolling on my phone in the morning and I’d have to rush to get the kids ready for school. It was only ten minutes at a time but it all adds up throughout the day.
“Now I am off social media the children have my full attention all of the time, like they should have.
“I was petrified I’d lose clients but I knew I just had to change. I couldn’t go on as I was.
“It was really hard at first because I was scared about missing out on things, that was my biggest worry, the fear of missing out.
“I knew I had an addiction because when I deleted the apps I still had an urge to check what was going on.
“But now I feel brilliant for it and it is one of the best things I’ve done in a long time.
“I’ve not felt the need to post any photos or see what my friends are up to. If I want to ask them how their day has been then I’ll text or ring them instead.
“Social media is like a drug.
“My family life is 100 times better now and my children get my full attention all of the time.”
Charlotte added how she’s now able to get more things done in one day, such as more jobs around the house and enjoying other people’s company.
She said she now enjoys “life experiences” like holding a proper conversation with her kids on the way in to school and enjoying her surroundings whilst walking from place to place.
She said: “It feels wonderful and I feel like I’ve had a cloud lifted from over my head. It’s liberating.
“When I walk the kids to school I have a good chat to them and bond with them properly.
“That sort of stuff is invaluable. When I’m out and about I enjoy looking at where I’m going.
“So many people walk along, staring at their phones.
“I’m in a better headspace now and am a more confident person. I don’t need to care about how many likes my photos get any more. It just doesn’t matter.
“I just don’t need it in my life. I have so much more free time now to spend with my family.
“More people should do this. So many people would be shocked at how much time they spend on their phones.”
Since coming off social media Charlotte said she has realised just how much time Christopher spends on his phone.
She’s hoping to convince him to bin Facebook for good too, and is urging other young mums with families to do the same.