HGTV star Erin Napier has been outspoken about her complicated relationship with social media in the past, and now she’s decided to spend less time on it altogether.
The Home Town designer, 35, took to Instagram on Thursday to share a photo of a sunset in Laurel, Mississippi — where she lives with her husband and costar, Ben Napier, 37, and their daughter Helen, 2 — along with a message about her feelings towards social media as of late.
“The more I learn about social media, the more it frightens me,” she began. “So I’m going to make an effort to spend less time here. People weren’t built to know the opinions of thousands or even hundreds of their ‘friends.’ The real world is a much nicer place, honestly.”
One fan responded in the comments, writing, “100%. Have you watched The Social Dilemma yet?” referencing a popular new Netflix documentary in which tech industry experts explain the dangerous effects social media platforms can have on human behavior. Ben responded: “Yep, freaked us out.”
In July, Erin decided to turn off the comments on her Instagram posts, sharing that social media trolls and their hurtful messages had been impacting her mental health. “Turning off comments till 2021 feels like a good move,” she wrote at the time. “It’s getting harder to shoulder every opinion from every direction at all times about everything when everyone is freaking out constantly. There’s too much noise.”
She then asked that fans not worry about her decision, and instead embrace the change. “It’s nothing to freak out about. No need to shove. Have mercy. Show grace. Social media is for fun,” she wrote.
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Turning off comments till 2021 feels like a good move. It’s getting harder to shoulder every opinion from every direction at all times about everything when everyone is freaking out constantly. There’s too much noise. It’s like this: we’re each making a bed and can’t see how far the sheet is hanging on the other side. We can’t see what we can’t see. So the best we can do is show compassion in our differences and understanding that we’re never going to be able to see all things the exact same way because our experiences are not the same. It’s nothing to freak out about. No need to shove. Have mercy. Show grace. Social media is for fun. So here, enjoy this totally candid and unposed image. (ps i am bad at analogies)
Though she turned comments off for a while, she soon changed the settings to allow limited, approved comments, and now all comments on her posts have been turned back on.
Back in March, the home renovator made a similar plea to put an end to Instagram bullying, when she said she was refusing to let “cruel” commenters impact her anymore.
At the time, she posted a photo of a dim lamp in front of a curtained window, captioning it with a message to supporters and would-be bullies alike.
“Instagram is my cozy place,” she wrote. “A photo journal of the moments I don’t mind sharing because maybe it will make someone feel like there are other people like them in the world, or maybe it will give you courage to be distinctly YOU in a world that values perfection over personal.”
“What this isn’t: a place for people I don’t know to come and air their grievances (this isn’t Festivus) or be mean or critical,” she continued. “If you are thinking to yourself ‘well it feels good to say my piece, warts and all!’ go ahead and tap that unfollow button.”
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HEY let’s have a chat about social media. I think it’s time to work through some things. Instagram is my cozy place. A photo journal of the moments I don’t mind sharing because maybe it will make someone feel like there are other people like them in the world, or maybe it will give you courage to be distinctly YOU in a world that values perfection over personal. It’s a place to show our work, or sometimes it’s just because I want to remember a moment and this is a simple and concise way to catalog moments. What this isn’t: a place for people I don’t know to come and air their grievances (this isn’t Festivus) or be mean or critical. If you are thinking to yourself “well it feels good to say my peace, warts and all!” go ahead and tap that unfollow button. People who feel that way have nothing in common with me and you’re not going to fit in here. I get to say who participates in what I share and if someone is cruel or critical, I block them. I guard my heart. I recommend you do the same, so we clean up this cozy photo journal we’re all trying to enjoy. ✌🏻
She then shared that she has no problem with blocking those who make her feel less than, and that no one should be afraid to do the same, as she wants to be able to share parts of her life with supportive fans.
Erin, a graphic designer by trade, and Ben, a former church minister, found HGTV fame after a producer for the network spotted their renovation of the 1925 craftsman cottage they were fixing up for themselves in their hometown of Laurel, Miss.
RELATED: Home Town Couple Ben and Erin Napier’s Unbelievable Journey to HGTV Stardom: ‘We Never Expected This’
“She sent us an email and said, ‘This might sound crazy, but I’ve been stalking you on social media, and I’d like to put you guys on TV,’” Ben told PEOPLE in an April cover story. “I was like, ‘Really? Why?’”
“We never expected this,” Erin added. “Getting a TV show never even crossed our minds.”
Now the Napiers command a growing home-improvement empire, including their series Home Town (now in its fourth season), plus the spinoff Home Town Takeover coming in 2021, two retail stores, a book and a furniture line.
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