Remember when we used to have to ask our parents’ permission to use the phone? Remember when the phone was connected to a wall and we actually had to stay in that one (not so private) place in order to chat to our friends? Yes I am old enough to remember this! We had a ‘phone table’ with its little seat attached to a table where the phone sat, and it even had a space for the ‘phone book’, which was a real paper book with two parts A-K & L-Z.
I still recall when my older brother brought home a long cable that meant I could actually get the phone all the way to upstairs and talk about ‘girly stuff’ in private to my girlfriends!
Yes I am showing my age, but I’m OK with that, and I am old enough now to have a teenager (insert me crying here). I now watch her snap selfies with her besties, and giggles about all sorts of stuff they can see on their iPads. Whether you like it or not social media is here, and we can no longer ignore it, well we can try, but even our youngest kids will soon be bombarded with it, and I find the better we understand it, the better we can supervise.
So I wanted to share some tips that may help you, or your children survive social media.
- Remember that Real Life and Online Life are two very different things! Social media is controlled, we can post what we like, and edit our lives to look a certain way! It is important that you remember that if you can edit your life on social media so can others! Some choose to post only the most edited, photo-shopped, filtered pics they can find, with happy little captions that make them sound like a famous socialite. Others choose to post nothing but negativity, bitchy, draining pics with quotes about how everyone sucks. (Maybe check they are actually ok just in case), but some people just like to promote negativity because they think it makes them look cool. You need to look upon social media with a critical eye, don’t get caught up in fake social media drama.
- Don’t spend all your time on it! As fun as it can be, remember there is a magical place out there called the ‘real world’ where ‘real people’ exist. It might sound like I am being silly, but it is easy to caught up for hours on social media, don’t forget to actually catch up with friends and get the full picture of what is happening in their life, not the edited version.
- Don’t obsess over what everyone else is doing. It can be so easy to find yourself caught up in what others are doing. Have you heard of FOMO? It stands for Fear Of Missing Out. We have all felt this way. Growing up if you weren’t at a party because you had to do something with your family you would wonder what you were missing out on, it kind of sucked! But these days it is worse. We now see what we are missing out on all over social media! This is particularly hard on teens. Don’t dismiss how they feel. If you are somewhere then commit to where you are. Don’t look at social media when you are out with others, focus on the now, if you don’t look at what everyone at the other party is doing then you won’t care.
- Stop competing. If you are feeling a little jealous of someone else’s feed because they are on a fab vacation, or at the coolest party, don’t automatically start posting photos of yourself trying to look like you are having a better time. Just be happy for others, or don’t look at their feed. If you can’t be happy for them, then maybe you don’t really care about them and you should unfollow them.
- Watch what you say. No one likes hearing horrible comments, if you don’t have something nice to say, then don’t open your mouth (or type that message at all)! Think how you would feel if someone left you a degrading, or ignorant comment!
- Don’t read nasty comments. It is awful if someone says something horrible about you online, but remember that it says more about their character than yours! Don’t give them the satisfaction of reading it. And do not respond online to them, they want you to do that so don’t do what they want. Have someone delete any hurtful comments or simply block them. Don’t play their game.
- Have fun with it. Social media is such a wonderful way to share moments with those we love, to capture a fantastic collection of memories, it is truly like having a wonderful photo album or scrapbook of memorable moments right there on our phones! It is also a great way to follow things we love like, an artist we admire, and it is great for promoting a business, or blog. It is also absolutely fantastic for sharing moments with those we love who live far away. When used with good intentions it can be a fabulous medium for connection and fun. Don’t be scared of social media, just be smart about it.
- Remember that we are being watched. If you have kids especially tweens and teens, then you know that you are being watched and kids are like sponges, they absorb everything! The way you use social media will affect how they use it. The things you say about it will affect, and shape their opinions. If you are always posting negative comments, or making negative remarks they will learn to do the same. Teach them to be responsible by being a positive example.
Do you have any other suggestions? If so leave me a comment below.
Thanks for joining me, love Mac xx