No one ever wants to post about the hard stuff. Why? Hard stuff is what we need support with. No one needs support when their lives are hunky dory. Every time I feel crappy looking at people's posts, I remember this. I have a "friend" that I'm pretty sure is going through a divorce, but there's not single negative thing posted. I get not wanting the world know your business, but then, maybe you shouldn't post things. I rarely, post anything personal. The last thing I posted was that if you drop you dog off on the freeway, there is a special place in hell for you. Not super personal there. In fact, I didn't even post WHERE this was in reference to.
So, I the question is, why is it so surprising that this new generation of people, who have never been without digital cameras (let's not get into everyone suddenly thinking they are a photographer...I say this as an old school photographer who can actually develop her own film and print her own photos), smartphones, the internet, social media, and online schooling, have trouble with depression and relating to people in real life? Have you looked around when you have gone out to dinner? How many people are actually talking to each other and not on their phones? People are more concerned about appearances than connections. "Look at how much fun I'm having. Don't you wish you were me?" As a person who suffers from anxiety, these things suck. The logical part of my brain knows these people's lives are perfect, but the anxiety in me tells me that everyone's lives are better than mine. I see people camping with their kids and think how my kids need to be camping. I hate camping. I would be miserable. I have no desire to camp, but look at how great these people's lives are. If I have trouble processing these things, I can't even imagine what it would be like for kids, who have yet to go through the emotional changes they need to in order to logically process this sort of information. With no life experiences, these kids have no idea how to get along in the world unless they see it posted somewhere.
There is more stress on children now than ever before. Why? Because now everyone is keeping up the Joneses. "This person just posted that their two year is doing this, so my two year must need to do this as well." And it continues throughout that child's life. I fully admit, I'm guilty of this, to a point. My child is not going to be in every single activity they can be in just because someone else's child is. If we would like to play that game, I'll happily post both my gifted children's test scores for you. Actually, that's not true. It's something I would never do because I won't play that game. I digress...how can we expect kids to grow up to be decent humans if they don't ever have to actually interact with anyone? When a girl is mad at her best friend, instead of having it out, face to face, or even on the phone, it's text messaging or posting mean things on social media. To take it a step further, reputations can be destroyed by angry teenagers on social media. Did no one ever think that maybe all this technology isn't the best thing to put in the hands of children whose brains have not yet fully developed and who are going through intense hormonal changes?
Technology is changing so fast that no one thought through the consequences. Yes, there are so many wonderful, wonderful advances with technology that make life so much easier. Heck, we're slowly developing a "smart" house. I simply ask Google to do something, and it's done. Lights on or off, thermostat up or down, playing music, watching TV, and even finding my phone have become things I simply ask a machine to do. The thing is, people have forgotten to be careful. Know what your kids are doing. Know what your kids are watching. My daughter is not allowed to watch YouTube videos. My son is only allowed to follow certain people on Instagram and may not add anyone without permission. More so, we monitor it. I take my kids' phone and read everything. I am around when they are on electronics. My son, who has a lot of work to do for school on the computer, has limited access to websites and needs to ask permission for any new website he is trying to get to, and this included Google searches. I'm also lucky because I have a husband who knows how to do all the technological stuff. I am not the savvy. More importantly though, we need to not only monitor what kids are doing, but we need to interact with them. We need to demonstrate how decent human beings act. We need to speak with our children. We need to let them know that what they see on social media is not the real world. We need to point out that everyone has problems that they are working through. Life is so hard, but we keep making it harder for our kids by trying to show them only the good. We all want to shelter our children, but doing that only makes them have unrealistic expectations.
Be kind. On social media and in the real world. Take time to make real connections instead of digital ones. Be proud of your messy hard life.