Monday, December 09, 2019

Social Media and children

I am no better than the next person:  Being Internet addicted myself (and trying now to step back somewhat), I allowed the little girl I babysat to use an iPad.  I limited her use of it, but I now regret even that decision.  I notice many people hand a cell phone to their toddlers while shopping or traveling in the car.  It would seem a wise decision, because the child is occupied rather than being bored.  We grownups pass time in that manner, so why not children?  But I'm becoming increasingly aware that one of the best things that could happen to the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and all the others would be for them to shut down entirely.  

"Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and other tech elites consistently reveal that Silicon Valley parents are strict about technology use."says one article.  

Is there anybody who doesn't agree that social media is the number one cause for bullying and suicides in children and teenagers?  

I'm seventy-five, and I've been hooked for years... it all started with the chat room.  Lately I've been cutting back more and more, but it's difficult for me.  My two biggest Internet addictions are Facebook and Words with Friends, with Facebook being the number one problem.  I will probably keep WWF (because my time there doesn't rely on the approval of others), but I'm seriously thinking of totally leaving Facebook.  Even though I limit posts and memes, I'm still there often, scrolling down through my status to see what everybody has to say, and commenting on posts.  I've been known to say to Cliff something like this:  Wow, 75 people liked so-and-so that I posted.

Really, old lady?  You're that caught up in it?  

Yes, I am.  Many of you who use Facebook enjoy it without letting it take over your life, and I applaud you.  I found myself going on a walk outside thinking about what someone said on Facebook, rather than living in the moment..  

Recently we went to a Thanksgiving meal at a church where the preacher's kids have been home-schooled.  Nobody was looking at a cell phone in all the time we were there, as far as I know.  When I see people who can't leave the house for five minutes without looking at a cell phone all the way to the car, and then checking it even while driving, I realize what a mess we're in.  Some of us seek the approval of others on Facebook on social media.  We hope all our "friends" will "like" what we share and, in that process, perhaps like us in general.  It's no wonder so many people are depressed:  We're living our entire lives on Facebook:  When I travel, I post pictures on Facebook.  When I get a dog, he becomes a Facebook star.  When I fry green tomatoes, I show them on Facebook.  It's a captive audience, but when I think about it, I ask myself, "Who really cares how cute my dog is, or what I cooked for dinner?"      

Cliff, who is as far from a computer wizard as anyone could be, sometimes gives someone a Facebook "like" because hardly anyone liked  or commented on the particular thing they shared; he feels sorry for them.  It's a sympathy like!  When I think about it, even I will "like" a statement or meme just because I want to keep that person in my algorithm so their posts will keep showing up.  

As I consider leaving Facebook, I remember all the pictures I'd be losing; then I think of all the photos I have saved to Amazon Prime and realize the Facebook photos wouldn't be too much of a loss.  At my age, I'm caring less and less about photos anyway.

I sometimes post the link to certain of my blog entries on Facebook, but only when I think it's a fairly interesting post.  I won't be sharing this one, because then I'd hear from the people who think I'm wanting someone to beg me to stay; it would appear as though I'm seeking affirmation.  I may just try disabling Facebook for a month straight and see what happens.  One thing I've noticed since I cut my friend list is this:  I've gotten back to blogging a little more often.

Do you suppose there's a group called "Facebook Anonymous"?  I could really use that.

"Hello.  I'm Donna, and I'm addicted to Facebook."

Yours throughout the struggle,
Donna

5 comments:

Margie's Musings said...

Donna, I couldn't agree with you more! Social media is a total waste of time...especially facebook. They allow all ...kinds of abuse.....lies, vocal abuse etc. Even the president uses twitter to abuse people he dislikes. It's a tragedy!!!

Margaret said...

I like Facebook to keep in touch and share bits and pieces of my life with friends and family. However, I save my real writing and deeper thoughts for the blog. It works well for me. I do think that most of us get way too much screen time, and that for kids, it can be particularly damaging. Using a cell phone, a TV or a video game as a babysitter can backfire down the road. I'm happy that cell phones and computers weren't around when my girls were young. Neither one of them uses social media much, and my older girl dumped FB several years ago. Do whatever you decide for YOU, and not because you feel guilty or think you're spending too much time on social media. If it's adversely affecting you, dump it. If it's just something you enjoy, keep on doing it.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

The only time social media bothers me is when people visit and spend their tim on the phones. Instead of socializing with the people around them. That really bothers me. We can't forget the real pople in our lives need attention too. Bullying for teens is bad, but then they need to get some real friends, it would make a difference

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Celeste said...

If not for social media I would not have some of the friends I do, including you. Through blogs and Facebook, I have met some wonderful people. I am not a social person, I am an introvert. Facebook and blogs have taught me how to put myself out there. My circle is wider than my living room now. Speaking of the living room, I need to get off now. My great daughter is awake and hungry!

Marcia said...

THUMBS UP!