I think social media is great. The opportunities it opens up for individuals, to showcase their skills and talents are amazing. The way it allows businesses to market themselves and reach wider ranges of potential customers. Services are easy to book, and easy to choose from the numerous reviews left on social media sites. We all have instant access to ‘how to’ tutorials, recipes, fashion ideas and so much more.
Social media has made it easier than ever to stay in touch with family and friends, even if you can’t meet as often as you’d like, you can still say hi, exchange a quick message, send birthday greetings, and keep up-to-date with what everyone is doing.
However, like all good things, too much can be a bad thing. From my personal observation, the younger generation are teetering dangerously close to the edge of far too heavy a reliance on all things social media related.
Obviously being online has always brought with it a certain degree of risk for youngsters with the anonymity aspect; not really knowing who you’re talking to, which has led to grooming, bullying and exposure of too much information. Putting aside the general identity related dangers, the hidden emotional cost of too much dependence of social media, is far more sinister.
There are those few unfortunate souls, who will bare every detail of their life and all the drama that surrounds them, over their social media accounts, and will seek empathy and support from their contacts. However the more common theme, is for people to only post all the good things that they want the world to see.
Sometimes, it’s akin to living a double life almost, and keeping up a charade like that is emotionally and physically taxing.
As adults, most of us are realistic and understand that no one has a perfect life 100% of the time, but trying to get children, teenagers and young adults to see and accept that is difficult. They tend to go by what they see, so a page on which someone seems to live an enchanted life, can lead to feelings of inferiority, insecurity, envy, bitterness and isolation.
All of us (not just the kids), need reminding, that what we see on social media is not a full and accurate representation of the truth. We see beautiful homes, flash cars and luxury holidays, but we don’t see the hard work, the late nights, the hours spent, the missed school plays and sports days and the sleepless nights that it took to get there. We see the loving relationship, but we don’t see the heartaches that came before it or the tears cried alone behind closed doors. We see the perfect bodies and faces, but the surgery scars, the fat childhood, the unhealthy relationship with food, all hidden behind that pretty filter.
Educate your children to use social media for it’s intended purpose, to make the world accessible to everyone, not as a means to measure their success against the success of others.