Facebook. Twitter. Whatever else is out there. Social media has gripped human society so tightly. For some reason we have all become voyeuristic of each other’s lives. Gone are the days of the phone call or a handwritten letter. When my phone rings I barely recognize the sound since I hardly hear it. That is a really sad commentary.
For most of us in our 30s and older, we had a childhood free of social media. We lived in a world where you had to use pay phones to call someone or to respond to a beep. We lived in a hashtag free world (unless you were copying down your homework and needed to know which problems to do). Our childhood and adolescence were free of being tied down to a mobile device to get our latest news. Was there bullying? Yes! I can definitely be honest and say that I was bullied quite a few times in my younger years. However, the idea of bullying has been taken to the next level.
This article was so eye opening and scary at the same time. Bullying is on the rise. Suicides in young teens is on the rise. There is a section of the article that talks about a young man who was being treated for depression. He later went to a site that explained how to commit suicide and then he did. How horrific! This poor soul just needed help. But social media and the internet had a negative impact on his cry for help.
I fear for my son when he gets older. I do not want his life to be ruled by a social media account. I don’t want him to think that the number of friends you have on Facebook tells him how important he is. I don’t want him to take someone’s status and think that what someone else has to say is the truth. I want him to live in a world where people are unique and are free to express that uniqueness. I would be lying if I said I never used any social media. At one point I was constantly on one form of social media that it consumed my life. I have definitely stepped back and have tried to become more digital free. It is definitely an addiction that, if not taken control of, will spiral out of control and make society a bunch of useless robots who just stare at a screen.
Those who use social media to attack others and to spread hatred should be held 100% responsible for their actions. They need to know that what they are doing is wrong and that it is a coward’s way. The old adage ” If you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t say it at all” definitely is important in this day and age. Children need to be taught young that bullying and hatred are wrong. Unfortunately, children are a product of their parents. It all starts as us, the parents, to be good examples. To show them how to be decent people.
I know it is very hard not to be connected in our daily lives. With work and day to day activities, we need to have some source of communication with the outside. However, I think we all need to start putting aside a few hours a day where we have real conversations. Perhaps starting at the dinner table. Discuss the day’s events. Bring up something new you might have learned. Compliment someone around you. I think it will have a huge effect in the long run. Getting to know your children ( and your children getting to know you) is the first step in this whole process. Be open with each other. Talk and listen. It is, perhaps, our only saving grace.
Tell us how you try to become digital free. Comment below!
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