My name is Megan, and I have a social media addiction.
And I know I’m not the only one. By the nature of the beast I can see that the majority of my associates, friends, family and even parents (and grandparents!) have some sort of social media account. So can something so popular bring negativity into our lives?
I’ve been loving the feature on Facebook that shows you ‘on this day’ over the past years on the site. Scrolling back, I’ve ‘ohhed’ and ‘ahhed’ over my cute little kids and babies and been reminded of memorable events in our past. One thing that has stood out is how much I used this tool around the time my kids were babies. Status updates included blow by blow descriptions of teeth appearing, successful potty training, lack of sleep, trips to day care and various other age related activities. At that time of my life Facebook stood as a form of ‘mother’s group’ and I found myself wondering how my own mum survived in a small country town with very few friends in similar situations. Tick to social media.
Then there are all the fantastic articles. Blogs, insightful updates, links to websites, newsletters and parenting ideas have definitely brought consideration into my daily activities and a chance to reflect on what I find important for my family. And of course, my own opportunities as a business mum have came about much easier thanks to the world of technology.
Second tick for social media.
So far, no negatives right? So why am I even analyzing this?
Because I struggle with balance, and I’m making no judgments here. I believe that something is only a problem if you THINK it’s a problem. And for me, I think it’s a problem.
Firstly, I’m acutely aware that my children are growing up with an image of their mother with a phone permanently attached to her hand. I might be banking or organizing a business meeting but my kids can’t differentiate between that and a game of bejeweled or liking a picture of a dog in a dress on Instagram. They don’t yet have their own devices, but when they do (and they will) how will I have the grounds to tell them to limit their use and balance their lives with a range of activities?
Secondly, if something adorable happens with my kids instead of engaging and being present in that experience – I reach for my phone to record it by photo or video. I recognize that it’s important to capture these moments but I don’t want to look back and notice I wasn’t experiencing it WITH them. Mindfulness was the word of 2015, and watching my children’s lives through the screen of an iPhone isn’t that.
Finally, I don’t want to live my life comparing and analyzing it to those who seem ‘better’ ‘more organized’ ‘wholesome’ ‘perfect parents’ because that, for starters, isn’t real life – people can create an online image however they desire, but more importantly they are not ME and don’t live my life. Their happy is different to my happy. Their problems are different to my problems. Their kids are different to my kids.
So, 2016. Not the year I give up social media, but the year I attempt to use it respectfully – for my life and my children’s.