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Why one woman is trying to give up social media this month

Maura Woodman is cutting down screen time for Lent

3 min read
caption Woodman has been finding more time to read.
Peter Topshee
caption Woodman has been finding more time to read.
Peter Topshee

A month ago, Maura Woodman said she would spend, “at least an hour and a half a day,” cruising Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.

For Lent, Woodman is drastically cutting back on her screen time.

“In the weeks leading up to Lent, I was circling through my social media a lot before bed and I realized I wasn’t enjoying it,” Woodman said. “And my eyes would hurt.”

Lent is a religious observation in Christian religion. It begins on Ash Wednesday, March 1, and ends on Easter Sunday, April 16. It’s a religious observation in which people give up certain luxuries or fast for 40 days.

It’s been almost three weeks since Woodman started her commitment and it’s been a challenge for her. But, overall, she finds “it’s going well.”

Woodman works at Affinio, a Halifax tech startup. She is still using Facebook Messenger and Twitter, for professional use, so she hasn’t given up social media entirely.

In November 2015, TNS Canada released a report which said millennials, globally, average over three hours of Internet time per day. It adds up to over 45 days per year staring at a screen.

“We’ve had social media at such an interesting time in our lives, when everything plays out in front of other people, and makes you slightly out of touch with what we genuinely find enjoyable,” Woodman said.

She also finds that Lent is “a good time of year to look at the parts of my life that I don’t need” and that she is reading a lot more than before.

Fasting and Lent

Mary Hale, a professor of religious studies at Saint Mary’s University, said “fasting is an ancient ritual” and there are many different facets of it. She added that it’s popular to “give up luxuries in order to better serve the community.”

As for Woodman, after the Easter weekend, she said she will be re-activating her social media.

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