Saturday, August 18, 2012
Balance in the World of Social Media and Technology
My dearest friend Heather passed on a copy of Newsweek to me with the cover story "iCrazy" on it. She said, you should read this and write something on your blog. I decided I would. I asked my 500 Facebook friends for thoughts and tips on balancing this in family and children. I received 0 response. What does that mean? It could mean everyone is busy or on vacation...it could mean everyone thinks I'm nuts...or maybe this topic is a sore one that overwhelms?
In any case, I'm still writing the article. Any of you who know me well know that I am the odd ball minimalist in this area. Yet I don't want to put my head in the sand...this is the world we live in. I am seeking balance too. At this point I have a very lame phone in my purse that often dies there before I use it. I don't have texting, and my husband has a great phone with texting, but is rarely on it, and turns it off when he is at home or with the family. It's more of a work phone. My kids (ages 13 and 10) don't have phones and don't want them. I think this is because they don't see us with them...and my daughter is like me. She notices the excessivness that most kids her age have in regards to phones and texting and it bugs her. Many parents feel it's a way of connecting with their kids, but honestly, for me, if my daugther has needed to call me, there are other phones. Until she drives, I don't see the point.
So, I read the article. It's scary. Our children and their brains are literally changing due to all this texting, Facebooking and Tweeting. Scientists are learning that the next big "Addiction" is to this social media. The brains of those sucked in actually look like the brains of those addicted to Cocaine. Scary. It's increasing depression and anxiety in kids. They see all this stuff on FB and feel overwhelmed and comparing themselves. Then there is the impulses to NOT PUT THE PHONE DOWN. They are wired to the thing 24/7 and with it FB and Twitter. There is even something called "Phantom Vibration Syndrome" It happens when you respond to your phone so much that you begin to feel it vibrate when it didn't. Anyone else freaked out by this?
Here's a quote from the article, "Research is now making it clear that the Internet is not "Just" another delivery system. It is creating a whole new mental environment, a digital state of nature where the human mind becomes a spinning instrument panel, and few people will survive unscathed."
What are the answers? I don't think we just throw it all out. Some of it...in moderation is good. What scares me is that I don't think moderation happens much in this arena. I may be in the dark ages, but because I am not a major phone person, I am always appalled when I'm with my family somewhere and every single person besides us has out their phone. I think it's alienating. I'm afraid for the social structure of the future. Are our kids going to be able to have conversations? Scary.
In my mind it all comes back to an age old truth. Balance in everything. That's it. Balance. Anything that is not done in moderation is unhealthy. Anything we take to an extreme is dangerous. I'd love to hear thoughts on this. I'm not hear to preach...and I certainly don't have all the answers. Balance is the only thing that comes to mind.