I had the opportunity the other day to spend 5 hours together with parents who love their children so much that they wanted to learn more about social media. Social media and how kids will use it and what to potentially look out for. From posting pictures online to what kind of boundaries to set up were just a few of the topics that we spoke and learned about.
With this influx of information, I began looking at my own boundaries, and how I look at social media, and how even I use it. From Facebook (I deleted my account years ago), to Twitter (which I use daily to stay in touch with new found friends) and even on to SMS (something that is limited to close friends), I began to wonder how this changes things.
The Whirlwind of Social Media
It changes things on so many levels, from time, to priority, and even bathroom trips. Society is changing, there is a tipping point that is about to break. Smartphones, and the applications that have come to be the core interests, are pushing society to change, faster than I believe we can and should.
From instant updates to SMS messages that shouldn’t have been sent, kids and adults alike are being torn in different directions. Adults are becoming over-bearing lunatics and watching everything their kids are doing online and off. Kids are becoming more inverted than ever.
My point is this; will kids know how to interact with each other without the aid of said tools/devices?
I could go on and on with examples of how I have seen relationships hurt, kids interacting at a socially awkward state, all due to an unfamiliar connection between two people. I don’t want this piece to end up sounding preachy, but rather point out a few large holes in future relationships and connections that I feel social media is breaking in to.
Facing the Facts About Connections
There is a connection, albeit unseen, when two people interact with one another face to face. Even the telephone allows for a piece of this connection to be had. But when you take out the face to face, the visual prompts, the expressions in ones voices, what do you have? You have a cold conversation where there are no real boundaries.
I have already tried to instill in my daughters that once they start dating, there will be no asking each out on dates over the phone, text or social media. If this guy, who is seemingly interested in you, wants to go out on a date, he will show up at our door step and ask you out, with my permission! Not hide behind a text message or Facebook post.
My point in all of this, is NOT to tell anyone what to do, or how to parent. My point is that we need to be aware and not to fall for this new “way” of communicating with one another. Yes groceries items to pick up, or check ins on SMS are completely fine. But starting and ending relationships or even talking or sexting about topics that you wouldn’t face to face is a slippery slope.
The goal in our family is to be open, to communicate, one that I struggle with daily, so that each person knows where they stand, who they are and how they are loved. In a world of lightning fast communication options, of me me me, of Facebook status updates that don’t matter, we need to guide our children, we need to watch ourselves and how we behave behind this “safety-net” call the web.