Why I Believe Social Media is Ruining Childhoods
Today is my son's 9th birthday. It doesn't seem possible to me that these past 9 years flew by so quickly. It really is true. You blink an eye and they are grown. Although he is not "grown," he is growing quickly and will be grown before I realize its too late.
Cuddles will quickly turn into hanging with friends instead. Kisses at school are already fading. With every birthday candle that is blown out every year, a piece of me has to let go a little more. No matter how much I do not want to believe it, it's true. One day I will look back at these times that I am living out now, and think about how I handled things. What I did and didn't teach him and how I could've done things better. We, as mothers always believe we are failing. We see failure and our children simply do not. They see a perfect mommy in their eyes. I always ask my children what kind of mommy am I as if I'm trying extra hard to convince myself that I am somehow doing OK. Their response is always a " very nice mommy." I'll take that. Those moments of reassurance give me what I need to push on. Let's face it, motherhood is not easy. There are no manuals. Just biblical principals to base your life on and a whole lot of prayer.
No mother is perfect although we strive to be. Society paints the picture of a "perfect mother" for us. We have it all together on the outside and are struggling with far too many inner demons on the inside. We compare ourselves to the other moms on social media. Oh look at her! She perfectly dresses her daughters in coordinating Matilda Jane dresses and is perfectly put together herself. She drives a luxury car, lives in a huge house and her ring is adorned with multiple carats too. She posts selfies everyday showing off her toned physique while I sit here eating ice cream. I look around. My house is a mess, laundry is overflowing and I'm just flat out tired. On the other hand the social media mother's home is perfectly decorated with luxurious furniture and a huge closet filled with designer clothes. Little do we know as we sit on the other side of the screen, that she is battling with depression and anorexia. Her husband is having an affair. Social media is where she finds her self worth. Each "like" drives the addiction deeper. Society has gotten the best of her and now her mind has been damaged. She puts on a front just for the camera while she silently cries herself to sleep at night from the pressure of being perfect.
There is no such thing as perfect. Not even close. Our perception of perfect is driven by a false reality that is displayed on the internet. Back away from social media and be present in your children's lives. I quietly sit at my son's football practice 3 nights a week. I look around taking in my surroundings. I look at the other moms. We are there out of a mixture of obligation and support. As I continue to look around, every mom's head is down staring at her phone and using her unmanicured finger to scroll the screen. I stare for a while longer and then it hits me. We are here but we aren't really here. WE NEED TO BE PRESENT. We aren't living in the present enjoying the now. We are staring at a screen of perfection, comparing our lives to what we see while it is falsely portrayed as reality and then walk around like zombies depressed that our lives don't add up to what we see. A veil is placed over our eyes every time we log into Facebook.
With every child's birthday that passes, our children look up to us more. They are more aware of their surroundings and they learn by example. Are we teaching our daughters to stare at screens all day and compare themselves to a fake world? They see us looking in the mirror as they stand behind us looking in admiration at the mother that is before them. In their eyes we are a beautiful queen, in our own eyes we see every flaw and imperfection. We see the ugly, the crows feet emerging, the stretch marks from carrying our beautiful babies for 9 months and the love handles that are left from pregnancy. We see an aging, tired mom who sometimes just needs a moment of silence.
I often wonder out of the 9 years of my son's life how much have I been present? How much have I missed because my face was staring at a screen of lies? So many times I see parent's at the park submerged in endless scrolling while the children yell "Mom, look what I can do!" The mothers continue to look blank at the screen," Oh honey, that's great!"All while never looking up. How hard is it to give our children our undivided attention. It's simply not.
The truth is, social media is ruining childhoods for the children of today and the future. We give more attention to the screen than we do the giggly sweet kids in our own homes. No wonder why children start to act out these days. They are dying for our attention. Children are being robbed of an amazing childhood by a computer device and soon will fall into the trap of it too. Parents have become slaves to social media and in return our children suffer. Put the screen down and spend time with your children without snapping a hundred photos and posting them on Facebook. Live in the moment. Hug, kiss, laugh and BE PRESENT.