TwitFaceInstaBook…the good, bad, and ugly of social media

I sat down last week and was “all in” with motivation and ideas for this post. After an hour and a half of writing, editing, and figuring out how to attach links, I lost my draft and it went back to my very first saved paragraph! I wanted to scream! Or cry! It has taken me this long to get up the motivation to tackle it all over again. In the meantime I’ve been racking my brain (the slowing, aging brain!) to figure out what to post on my social media accounts to keep people tuning in. So needless to say, my relationship with computers and social media is definitely a love/hate one. So how the heck did I get myself into this blog thing since it relies solely on technology, the internet, and social media? I’ve also been told I needed to add more social media accounts just to get the visibility and exposure for the blog! Really??? What am I thinking?! And what the heck is a hashtag??? It is a very scary and relentless cyber world out there…

It is mind blowing to me what we, especially young people, are being exposed to now on the internet and social media! I thought I was doing a good job by not allowing our daughter to have a cell phone until she was 13, and that was 10 years ago. Even then, she was not allowed to have it in her room when she went to bed. The laptop that she had to do homework on was always at our dining room table and we always had her passwords and made it clear that we could look at anything at anytime. Unfortunately it only seems to be getting worse! I currently have several young people in my life that are dealing with some very serious issues because of their access to smart phones (usually dumb phones!), the internet, and social media. Reality has really hit me in the face as of late- I guess even though I’m not naive, there are things going on out there that are truly shocking to me! Now I feel like my grandchildren shouldn’t have access to a smart phone, or even the internet until they are 25! (Can I just put them in a big bubble please???)

I know it’s easier at my old age to sort through people’s comments and opinions, but I know how detrimental social media can be. How many of us adults have been so upset by what our “friends” post on social media, that we have lashed out behind the safety of the screen, or even “unfriended” someone?! So how do we expect our young people to behave any better??? Most teens and millennials have grown up with phones in their hands and access to multiple social media sites whenever they want. Even glued to them at school and while sitting in church! Now why would we subject young people to such pressure and scrutiny?  I saw a psychotherapist recently on the news who said that he has seen twice the number of kids with major anxiety disorders than in his previous 17 years of practice combined! During the most fragile and impressionable time of their lives, “when an adolescent is simply just trying to figure out who he or she is, they are given a weapon of mass destruction, called a smart phone, and now they are getting feedback constantly fueling their self esteem”… or blowing it out of the water! We are now in an age where we can all be apart of everyone’s lives, and share ours, moment by moment! Take the time to watch this clip that addresses several different issues: Social media report link

And the sex on the internet!? It is crazy! It makes most of us uncomfortable to talk about, but the internet and kids’ peers are doing the talking (and adding pictures unfortunately!) for us. Kids’ perceptions of the opposite sex are being formed and set by what they are being exposed to online: porn, articles, and peers opinions. Here is a startling look at what is happening…constant access to porn link     

Why are we as parents and adults allowing this to happen? We all need to pay more attention to what our young people are being exposed to online. Yes, it might make them mad, but you can help protect them! And as adults, we can think before we hit send in response to differing opinions online. Stop attacking and try to engage in rational conversations. Remember the whole, “don’t say anything if you can’t say anything nice” concept?? I don’t want to make people angry or defensive. I want to make people think and give hope. I was recently made more aware about what is going on out there, and just want to give people a heads up. Don’t be naive. It’s scary out there, but we can affect change!

Oh wait!! The GOOD??? Yes, there are definitely some good things about social media! Disaster relief efforts, finding missing people during a disaster or emergency, fundraising, notifying people of an emergency, reconnecting with people from the past, finding lost pets, marketing businesses, connecting those from a certain group with others of like mind/interests, etc. The list goes on. I believe that social media can give out what we put in to it. Use it for good, and teach your kids the same. Words and pictures are out there forever…

…and please don’t leave mean comments…I’m not sure I can handle those yet! HAHA!;)







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