KonMari Your Media

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Have you KonMari’d your house yet?

If you haven’t heard, KonMari is latest craze sweeping the nation. You go through your stuff (which we all tend to have a lot of) and hold every item. Then, you take a moment to decide if the item you are holding sparks joy. Yes? Keep it. No? Toss it.

More often than not, we do tend to find irrational joy in things. We collect and compile until these things – which once sparked joy – causes stress. Therefore, the practice of decluttering and cleaning out unnecessary things in order to make space and cultivate joy has great value.

But there is another area of our lives that is in desperate need of decluttering.

Our DEVICES and MEDIA consumption can certainly spark joy but it also reigns over our lives like a narcissistic, co-dependent friend. It’s always there for us, yet causes both calm and stress, pleasure and regret, positive and negative thoughts, new ideas and bad habits. We love it and despite how it controls us, we keep consuming.

Therefore, let’s ask the question, “Does this form of media build and support good character and positive habits?”

The Smartphone

The object of our greatest affection. It’s in our hand, our pocket, mounted to our dash, or charging by our bedside but rarely is it far away. We straight panic at the thought of forgetting it at home.

Does your smartphone in itself build and support positive character traits in your life? Are you more patient and kind because of it’s utility? More self-controlled despite its hundred notifications per day? More present and intentional in your relationships?

Ask yourself: What character traits and behaviors would those closest to me notice the most if smart technology wasn’t always in my hand? Or bravely ask the question to them directly: How is my character affected by my smartphone habits?

Decluttering KonMari Style:

Turn off all unnecessary notifications.  If you are always checking your phone whenever you hear a ding or a buzz, consider how many of those notifications are mere distractions and not actually necessary or useful.

Consider buying an alarm clock.  If you find yourself using your phone as an alarm clock and that behavior leads to you start scrolling on your phone first thing in the morning, an alarm clock will improve your behavior, increase your productivity, and may lead to better mental health.

Put your phone away.  You don’t need it on the table at meal times.  You don’t have to carry it in your hand at all times waiting for it to want your attention.  Look up and see the world around you.

Less pictures.  Not every moment in your life requires a picture.  Live in the moment and enjoy it to its fullest.

The Apps

Look at every single app on your phone and ask: Does the app support good character?

Reflect on how and why you use the app. Is it strictly for enhanced productivity? (i.e. Online banking) Or, is the app more entertaining, distracting, or captivating than productive? (i.e. shopping, photo editing, news sites)

Likewise, would you be more respectful to others or more generous with your time and attention if this app were simply deleted?

Decluttering KonMari Style:

If the app draws you away from face-to-face real life relationships, it needs to be deleted.

If the app is an effective tool but can sometimes be misused (Music, Audible, podcasts, and News apps), self-impose a time limit to improve your self-control. Both iOS 12 Screentime and Android Digital Wellbeing self monitoring features allow for this.

The Social Media

This self-assessment cuts into the true source of our joy and stress. Truth be told, everyone on social media should be a bit convicted. Social media platforms in and of themselves rarely promote good character so it is easy for all of us to fall short.

Carefully consider your social media accounts. How many accounts do you actively use?  Are there accounts that could be easily deleted? What is the platform known for?  Is that what you too want to be known for?

Furthermore, what specific purposes do you use it for? Are you keeping in touch with friends? Marketing an online business? Sharing your blessed and highly favored life with the world?

Now, the hardest question: Does this social media app build and support good or poor character in your life? Are you tempted to post filtered selfies, your family’s highlight real, or to stretch the truth of your accomplishments? How much do you compare and judge others? Or perhaps a better question, how much do you judge yourself based on other people’s social media lives? Are you influenced to be more humble, modest, and giving?  Are your words on the app positive, building people up?  Or are they negative, constantly tearing other people down?

If you were to remove the app from your phone what are the most crucial aspects you would miss out on?

Decluttering KonMari Style:

If the account isn’t used, delete it.

Take a break for a week or a month to evaluate the social media platform’s affect on you.

If you are experiencing more negative affects than positive within your use of the social media account, it is time to delete it. Not just the app, but the entire account!

Turn off all notifications for the app. The less you hear from it, the less you’ll feel the compulsion to open and scroll.

Wean off by not posting altogether or decreasing how much you post in order to break the hold of validation others “likes” give you.

The Television

Netflix, Hulu, and their similar competitors have changed the way we view television. TV-MA ratings dominate the streaming services with nudity, sex scenes, drugs and other controversial topics.

It is easy to sit at home in the dark (where no one knows and nothing will affect us) and binge on the newest season of an ancient Viking fantasy that has graphic sex scenes and gratuitous violence against women/children.

Do the shows you watch model the character and integrity you try to live out in your own life? Are your thoughts captivated by the fictional reality long after your binge is over? Do you find yourself comparing or replicating aspects of the show in your real life?

Also, you must humbly and honestly consider the displaced time of your consumption. Are important responsibilities or relationships neglected due to the time spent in front of the screen?

Decluttering KonMari Style:

Admitting that streaming television has an unhealthy influence on your life, consider canceling your subscription.

Also, if you cannot afford the monthly fee, cancel your subscription

If canceling is too drastic or not an option, you can still declutter your viewing. First, clear out your list (i.e. Netflix: My Account>Viewing Activity) and commit to not watching any shows that violate an honorable standard for character.

Recapture your time by deleting the app from your phone.

Watch only one episode (versus five) per night.  Or go “old school” and only watch one episode a week!

The Video Games

Whether you are into MMORPGs (World of Warcraft), First Person Shooters (Call of Duty), Third Person Shooters (Fallout) or Battle Royale (Fortnite) all of these games pose a risk for compulsive or addictive use.

Consider each video game you regularly play. Do the games impact your character negatively on or off the screen? Are you displacing time designated for important responsibilities in order to play more? Is your health (emotional, mental, physical) affected by the game itself or the quantity of time played? Are the games altering your thought patterns toward violence or your language towards foul and abusive words?

Due to the addictive nature of online gaming, it’s also important to evaluate how your video gaming impacts your loved ones. Do they bemoan your gaming habits? Are they asking you to play less or different games because of the game’s affect on you? Have you damaged or lost relationships because of the game?

Decluttering KonMari Style:

If a video game has any detrimental affect on your behaviors, character, health, or relationships it needs to be put in check.

Seek accountability to either wean off or quit cold turkey.

Delete the app, sell the console, uninstall the game – whatever it takes.

The Bravery & Benefit

Media decluttering isn’t always easy or enjoyable. Most likely, these media outlets spark a sense of joy in your life. Your bravery to cut out the consumption sets a clear example for your children. You have eliminated the temptations and indulgences, freeing your time and space for the most important things in life.

If your children don’t learn this from you, their minds will be molded to a life of media dependency. (Which may result in them living in your basement at age 30 without a job or a spouse but a large following on Twitch.)

Media consumption may make you feel relevant in culture but good character and positive habits will always appeal to the hearts of those around you.

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Chelsea Hezel

Chelsea Hezel

Chelsea is a classical Christian homeschool mom of three beautiful children. She married her high school sweetheart, and is still head over heels in love with him. She enjoys getting tattoos, listening to Guns n' Roses, reading classics, and most importantly she loves Jesus. Her goal is to always point you back to Jesus. He keeps her standing on her feet, standing, fresh and celebrating (Jude 1:24-25 MSG).

Looking for a way to keep up to date with the technology your children love?

Listen to the Brave Parenting Podcast and stay up to date with the latest apps, technology news, and how to build character using the tech they love.

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