Defaults can change social media

Live now sign on bookshelf
A bookshelf of my favorite children’s books holds a sign reminding me to live now.
Get off social media and into the real world.

In an article from the Wall Street Journal, I learned that some of the addictive aspects of Facebook Instagram and the other social media sites can be fixed. Like eliminating “likes” is an option. You can also stop push notifications for up to eight hours. You can even limit data collection.

How? Read this article called “How to Fix Facebook, Instagram and Social Media? Change the Defaults” by Joanna Stern linked below. It shows screen shots of where to find the defaults and lists a bunch of things parents can do to limit their children’s addictive relationship with social media. Some of these I’m going to do for myself, too. Stern also discusses legislation that’s in the works for social media.

Here’s an excerpt:

Default settings in our social-media apps were designed to benefit companies and their bottom lines. What if regulation pushed them to benefit us?

Quick homework assignment: Open Instagram, tap the head icon at the bottom right, then the three lines in the top right corner, then Settings, then Privacy. (Almost there, I promise!) Tap Posts and switch on “Hide Likes and View Counts.”

A few of you hopefully followed along. Most of you probably ignored me like the airline’s automated call system when I scream, “Representative!”

That’s OK. You’ve proven my point: Most people don’t change the default settings in their social-media apps—or any apps.

I for one haven’t looked at the defaults in any of my apps. I think it’s a worthwhile thing to do unless you want to delete them from your life forever.

What are your thoughts about changing defaults in apps and social media? Is it something you’ve done before? What do you think is most useful for you or your kids?

12 thoughts on “Defaults can change social media

  1. What’s Instagram? What’s Facebook? Snapchat? TicToc? I found an alternative to all the setting controls. Do not have an account. Anyway, I know most people do, and I hope they follow along and at least limit the damage.

  2. I’ve never switched on notifications for any social media apps on my phone. I was out with a friend one day when I heard her phone beeping different tones the entire time when I couldn’t figure out what they were. It was the noise that was created whenever someone posted on different social media apps! I realized how tough it would be to concentrate if you had to listen to that all day!

  3. I do switch off any notifications on most apps to avoid app clutter – I wish there was a universal single settings option on phones that you could press to switch off all app notifications at once so we didn’t have to go into the settings for each one..good point.

  4. Sadly, I’m attached to likes and views. When I post on Instagram, if I get less than 11 likes in 2 days, I delete the post. If I post a reel and it gets less than 100 views, I delete it. I don’t use Facebook much and Twitter rarely. I mostly watch on tiktok but sometimes post, but same concept as reels.

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