Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Is it possible to live without social media?

Is resistance futile?

Social media are an inherent part of today's life and we cannot deny it. Ones upon a time I was refusing social media in my home, not even getting a smartphone. I did not want to be victimized by it, this term may seem a little too intense for such a situation but this is really how I was perceiving it.

I witnessed the change in my own home when my husband got his first smart phone, a while ago, the first Iphone that my son is so proud to own today, hoping it will have some great value in the future.
Smartphone were already chronophage, and not close to how much it is today.
Social media develop as fast as the plague in the middle-age and with it come the need to be part of it.

After year of resistance, I end up getting a smartphone just to be on the same pace as my middle-schooler kids and be able not only to fully understand them but eventually help them through it.
Well, in some way, they also had to help me through it as well, or should I say push me into it. I surely knew Facebook, "forced" by friends to join as it was the only way to see their children growing. But I also had to join Instagram, the juvenile version of Facebook.

it is insane how many hours our teens are spending on Instagram or Snapchat! They suddenly take many picture while before they would barely take their regular camera anywhere. And they are reading a lot, unhappily nothing important with sadly really bad grammar and even sometime bad langage.

But the fact is that with those social media they stay in touch no matter how far away they are of each other. And this is rather great. It really is friendship without frontier, this being the positive side of social media.

Unhappily there is also some dark side in it, harassment and cyber-bullying being one of the darkest. Being chronophage is certainly the more insidious. The more followers-following they have the more sollicitation they get. And they are in a hurry to read every single new post...

Well I am proud to not become a "victim" of social media, to not have turn on the notification part of it so I can still keep my peace and quiet environment and check WhatsApp when I decide to do so and not when my phone whistle.

However, I do have now some social media on my smartphone and I have to recognize that I excluded myself from some "community" life by refusing it for so long. Do I regret that choice? not a second. But having some today made me understand better why I do need to let my teen have some too and at the same time how important it is to teach them how to stay free of it. This is a real challenge as it can become quickly addictive. And there are a few ways to use social media, some teens accumulate "friends" or "followers" they are looking for numerous "like" on their post to feel "popular". They may have hundred or even thousand of followers that they do not even know! You can find teens who post tone of pictures of themselves, becoming little Instagram models, building their own celebrity.

So the challenge is to make sure that they are using those social media for something meaningful like staying in touch with real friends, and to not see all their free time collapsing in a chronophage screen.

It's a little like how to dominate the machine. May the force be with them.