Media Monday – Sorry kids…Facebook Comes First – How Social Media Impacts Our Parenting

I recently stumbled across this blog called hands free mama. I read this article and wanted to cry. I thoughtfully considered how many times my kids had been ignored, told to go away or their request forgotten while I sat on the computer, laptop, mobile phone or most recently my ipad.

It’s a humbling thought that our modern obsession with social media and yes, sadly, blogging or reading blogs often takes us away from the very thing we are reading about and discussing. Ironic, isn’t it?

When I was pregnant with my first child I became a member of this discussion forum. Until recently, I was active on this forum everyday and had been for the last 6 years. That’s a long time. A long time to be chatting (and arguing) with complete strangers. Yes, it provided me with much needed encouragement when I living interstate and didn’t have a single friend with a baby but it turned into a time-consuming obsession. I would often breastfeed my son whilst trying awkwardly to type an answer to a stranger’s sleep dilemma or mental health crisis. I thought it was just harmless entertainment but in actual fact, I was addicted. Apparently I’m not the only one so this article entitled “Not now darling, mummy’s tweeting” explains.

“Everyone uses social media so it’s just, well, normal”.

Normal doesn’t always mean good or positive. It’s normal for 2 out of every 3 Australians to be overweight. Normal doesn’t necessarily equal good.

The harsh reality is that social media takes us away from what is truly important – time with our children.

“Put the phone down people!”

I am constantly being criticized for my unreliability when it comes to my mobile phone. I rarely answer it. I often lose it. It may take me anywhere from a few hours to a few days to reply to a txt message.  For this reason, my husband has banned me from ever owning a phone worth more than $50 so my phone doesn’t even have the internet!

My justification has always been that I don’t like people having access to me whenever they want. It makes me feel invaded. And, call me old fashioned, but I think it’s rude to answer your phone when you’re with someone else.  I always thought this was my downfall but now I’m starting to realize that I’m on to something.

Mobile phones ARE invasive. Why should I prioritise that beeping txt message over reading a book with my son? What could possibly be so urgent?  And what message does that send to my child? Hang on a minute sweetie, THIS is more important than YOU

At a kids party over the weekend I observed parents so busy trying to take photos of their kids on mobile phones that they didn’t actually connect or engage with their children. I even noticed one parent get her child to pose for a photo then walk to a table nearby and bury her head in her phone. I assumed she was posting it on facebook. There was no time spent quietly watching that child squeal with joy as she learnt to ice-skate for the first time. Mum was too busy telling other people (who quite frankly don’t really care) where she was and what she was doing.

We need to lead by example

I don’t like my kids using the internet or playing games too much as it robs them of their creativity and ability to entertain themselves. I set clear guidelines and boundaries for them. But what about me? What are my boundaries when it comes to technology and social media? I need to lead by example.

To be cliche, we know that no one on their deathbed has ever requested someone pass them their mobile phone so they could update their facebook status!

We are in the process of making changes in our home. We are cutting back our time spent on social media and using technology in general. This isn’t something we want to do but it’s something we know we have to do – to get our priorities right and focus on what is really important.

I love blogging – but I love my children more!

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