There are so many pros and cons to social media.  I’ve heard my friends mention some of the negatives recently so let’s start there.

This is a whole new world that our children live in.  If my friends were getting together without me I usually didn’t know. Now it is all over social media.  For an adult like me, I usually just brush it off.  I don’t expect to be included in everything and I know my friends would never want to hurt me.  The ones that count anyway!  For our children it’s different.  I don’t want any of them hurt by what they are seeing on Instagram which is what most of them are on right now.  Snap chat, tik tok, or whatever other cool new app is out that I don’t know about yet!  I’m trying to keep up with it all!  This is something that my parents didn’t have to worry about!

I also worry about our children’s self worth and how social media affects them.  I don’t want them to be excited if something gets a lot of likes.  This doesn’t determine your worth!

I love to share on Facebook and Instagram.  I tend to be very extroverted which shows on social media.  You can tell who is outgoing and who is reserved based on a lot of their social media behavior.  I like to like everyone’s posts and I love to send a nice comment.  It makes me happy to see my friends and family happy and I love to make them feel good with a sweet comment.  I also love love seeing everyone’s children and pets!  The babies, puppies and kittens all over Facebook melt my mama heart!

I also notice who is liking my posts!  I want all of you to know that I appreciate every like or comment that you make on my posts!  I also notice the “friends” in my life who like everyone’s posts but mine.  I’m sure our kids do too.  It is one of those things that makes me realize who my real friends are.  If you are introverted and you aren’t liking anyone’s posts that’s a whole different story!

What about the person who knows everything you post and comments about it when you see them but never likes or comments on anything?  That always puzzles me.  As a social worker I am not only analyzing you, I am analyzing your social media behavior.  I could tell you a lot about someone based on what they are like on social media.  I’m not trying to creep you out!  This stuff just fascinates me.  My brain likes to analyze people’s behavior.

I had a friend say something the other day about Facebook that really had me thinking!  She told me that people’s posts make her feel bad.  I’m sure she is not alone.  She said that she feels bad about what people are doing that she isn’t doing.  I understand where she is coming from!  I think I try to challenge myself to find good ideas for things I can do with my family.  My husband tends to ask me if a feeling I am having is working for me.  He has trained me to try to figure out how I can look at a situation in a different way to make myself feel in a better state.  Seth is the best reframer I have met (other than my fabulous supervisor Maria).

Some ideas I have collected:

Hershey Park
Presque Isle
Sea Breeze
Canada’s Wonderland
Swiss Chalet
Mario race track
Eternal flame hike

The list goes on and on in regards to ideas I have gotten for my family.  The best is when someone is at Disney World.  I love when people post about their vacations!  I get so many ideas!  I loved that my friend did Snow White themed shirts for their trip to Disney World!  Such a good idea!  If you are posting what you have done to your house, I am taking notes about good ideas of what I can improve in my own house!  My husband doesn’t love Facebook!  He doesn’t like when I say, “Look at their new kitchen floor!”  A new kitchen floor is in my future!

At this point in my life, I am taking notes on vacations, pools, and home improvement projects.  We have to realize that everyone’s finances are different.  We don’t need to keep up with people.  Right now I wouldn’t feel comfortable spending money on a pool.  I will however check out all the beautiful pools you are putting in and take notes for if and when we decide to do that.

What about using Social media as a resource?  I have found out a lot of information I needed just by asking a question on Facebook.  Where is your favorite restaurant for seafood is just one example of what I have found out from my friends on Facebook!  I have also asked a lot about water parks, Disney World and Universal Studios!  I have gotten so many great tips from my friends!

We need to take charge of how social media affects us and our children and take on a different attitude.  If we want to feel good we can look at the world through glasses that make us happy.  It takes time to train our brain to do this.  I tell my kids it’s just like working their arm muscle!  We have to work our brain muscles too!  Instead of focusing on what others are doing that I’m not doing, I have decided to look at it as good ideas for me.  I also love seeing everyone’s pictures!  Instead of being upset if I notice someone in particular liking everyone’s posts but mine, I choose to focus on the good friends in my life who like and comment and make me feel happy!  Those are the people worth my time and energy!  Instead of any of us or our children finding worth in how many likes something gets, find worth in being proud of whatever you are sharing!  I am proud of finally getting to take my kids to a nice beach!  I have been wanting to get to Presque Isle for a couple years now and we finally made it.  Be proud of yourself and your family and find your self esteem from within.  I don’t need you to tell me that what I am doing is great!  I need to just know that myself!

Go have a conversation with your spouse and or child.  Find out what their attitudes are and see if you can tweak it to make them happier.  If we change our lenses to see something in a different perspective we can make our world a much better place!

I don’t want to go without talking about child safety on social media.  We just got my 10 year old a phone.  Call me crazy, but how I cope with my kids heading off to middle school is to get them a phone.

Ella came into my room and asked me to follow her on Instagram and my jaw dropped to the floor.  “Daddy said I could,” her little voice said to me as she saw the look on my face.  Seth and I hadn’t talked about that yet.  I wasn’t feeling ready for Ella to join the world of instagram.  “Did daddy set it up so that people had to ask you permission to follow you?”  I asked Ella and she had no idea what I was talking about.  I went to talk to Seth and he had already deleted her account.  He said someone we don’t know sent her a picture of their butt so he deleted the app! Forget what Ella and her friends are posting, I am worried about what she could be exposed to!  As Seth just said to me, “Follow your child, see what they are posting, see who they are following and monitor what they are doing!”  When my kids ask for privacy I laugh.  “You can have privacy when you are an adult!” I tell them.  They know I will look at their accounts and their texts.  They know that I am monitoring them.  That is not a secret in my house.  Could they delete stuff?  Sure! They know that the clear expectation is that they leave everything.

If you need help with child safety settings let me know!  I am not good with technology but my husband is!

My friend added some really valuable comments that I wanted to add to this.  First, she brought up an app that I recommend all of you go put on your family’s phones called Life360.  She is the third friend to tell me to put that on our phones.  We actually did this a week ago.  Now we can track where everyone is.  For safety purposes it is a wonderful app that I highly recommend.  I am new to this and loving it.

She brought up my biggest fear about social media that I think I was having trouble typing.  I have explained to my children that there are sick people out there who will pose as children on social media.  This is probably the most important lesson that we can teach our children.  They could be following our child as an adult posing as a child in order to harm them.  This is what scares me the most.  Lets keep our children safe and teach them this.  They shouldn’t be friending or allowing someone to follow them that they don’t know.  I know that is probably easier said than done.  Sally from another school close by that you don’t know may not really be a teenager.  My friend has a teenage daughter and has been dealing with Social Media and girls longer than I have.  Her and her daughter are going to be an awesome resource for me to utilize as I try to navigate through the shaky scary world of Social Media. Remember to use your supports!

It was a very sad day when I found my daughter had asked the world of Tik Tok if they thought she was pretty or ugly.  I shed a few tears when I saw that post.  I collected myself and then I went to have a calm conversation with Ella.  One of my greatest lessons as a parent is that sometimes I need to pull out some acting skills to do a good job parenting them.  I am an emotional person who sometimes screams or cries and that is okay too.  I want them to see my real emotions.  The problem is that they listen better to me when I am calm.  I don’t always pull this off but this day somehow I gathered the strength to stay calm.  My friend said that if she could teach me something it would be not to overreact when I find something out about my children that upsets me.  That was phenomenal advice that I want to share with all of you.  I explained to Ella that she should not be asking people if she is ugly or pretty.  That is not an appropriate question.  That is asking for trouble and comments that will only upset her (I didn’t tell her that part).  I told her we don’t talk about beauty or religion on a post (she had mentioned religion too in another post).  There is so much to teach our children.  I feel badly for them that they even have to deal with social media.  Lets just do our best to help them through this as best we can and lets support each other!

Go have a conversation with your children about social media.  Ask them if they have seen anything disturbing?  Ask them what they like and dislike about it?  Monitor them!

I hope that you found this helpful!  Please feel free to make topic requests!  Go post something that will make you smile!

Laughing, Learning, Loving,
Rebecca Greene