Monday, March 11, 2013

Facebook and Parenting




Parenting is said to be one of life's greatest challenges. Some people choose to put the challenge on "hyper mode" by combining parenting with Facebook. Sadly, few who embark on this foolish endeavor succeed. Like ketchup and dirt, Facebook and parenting do not mix well.

I have been appalled on my journey through life by watching parents ignore their children while absorbing themselves and their attention toward their phones and computer screens. Many parents sit alone, oblivious to their children who are nearby, as they wrangle the perfect status update on their Facebook page. Sending out a picture of one's child seems to replace being there for the individual.

Contrary to popular belief, one is not a good parent merely by creating a child.  Parenting requires a great amount of time, and most of that time should be spent with that child. Sadly, I have witnessed my fair share of parents who think that being there for the child is a chore instead of a delight. Yet, many of these individuals possess a small army of children. If being there for your child is such a chore, why keep having them? A child is not a status symbol, it is a human being. Yet, with Facebook, everything becomes a status symbol. If something can garnish a certain number of 'likes' through Facebook, then it is Facebook gold. For some, their children are seen as a way to increase their internet popularity. A child is often seen as a vehicle for the attainment of more 'likes'.



If one is somehow compelled to spend time on Facebook, then that time should not come at the expense of being a parent. I have touched on the fact that Facebook gives back very little in exchange for the amount of time people spend on it. In fact, many people state that Facebook brings them feelings of envy, sadness, and anger. Many people, myself included, believe that Facebook takes away time that could be used towards other pursuits. Pursuits that result in greater rewards. One example, in the parenting context, is the bonding time that one can spend with their child. Children grow up quickly, and almost every parent has some regrets when their child reaches adulthood. There are few parents that do not wish they spent more time with their children when they were younger[1]. Even parents who are blessed enough to stay at home with their children instead of working outside of the home often feel this regret. Sadly, many stay-at-home parents are the biggest culprits in using Facebook instead of spending time with their growing children.

Many parents believe that it is the school's job to educate their children. This is a faulty way of thinking. Education begins in the home. A child who is not educated by their parents is at a huge disadvantage in life. Children who have parents who spend time educating them not only do better in school, but also are better psychologically prepared for the trials that are ahead of them in life [2]. "While both school and family involvement are important, the role of family involvement is stronger when it comes to academic success."[3]. Yet, many parents are not involving themselves in the child's studies. Instead, like many others, parents feel the need to be on Facebook. It is a burning obsession that constantly nags at the individual. Facebook addiction, after all, has many of the same addictive properties of drug addiction[4][5]. 

Parents, like others, are not able to easily walk away from Facebook. Many see no reason to. In fact, many parents who ignore their children while on Facebook do not see it as a problem. Yet, this is a huge problem. If animals ignored their offspring in the wild, the offspring would likely die. Just as in nature, when a parent ignores their child, the child's development is hampered. Parents have an obligation to help their children thrive. If you are ignoring your child to spend time on an (a)social network, your child is not thriving.You may be a parent who has spent time with your Facebook account to the detriment of your child. That does not mean that you are a bad person. Part of changing is realizing that there is a problem

The next step is moving towards a solution. The solution that I strongly recommend is leaving Facebook. Of course, many people think that the idea of leaving Facebook is devious. Many people are literally terrified of leaving their Facebook account behind. Some are scared of a world without Facebook. However, a great amount of people have found that leaving Facebook is an incredibly beneficial step into taking back their life. 

 Many people are astonished to find that they spend hours a day, and hundreds of hours a month on Facebook. Many people look at magazines of lives of those who live their dreams and wonder why they have not attained the same. Many people wonder where the years of their life are going. During their youth they had dreams of achieving some kind of success, whether it was being a writer, a doctor, a pilot, or something else that is attainable. However, they find those dreams beginning to wane as time progresses. Those dreams do not have to disappear. 

Ask yourself how much time you spend on Facebook a day. Multiply that by a 365. How much of that time that you spent on Facebook could have been devoted to another endeavor? How much time could you have spent with your child? The reality is that your child will grow up. One day you will die. Will you have any regrets as you look back on your life? I understand that it is often hard for people to look so far forward. Many of us live for the moment. If you could do something today to improve the rest of your life in profound ways would you consider doing it? If something is coming between you and who you want to be, then you owe it to yourself to alter your course in life. For many people Facebook is a barrier to a better life.

What could you gain by leaving Facebook behind? The chance to spend more time with your child and family? The chance to move towards the attainment of goals. The chance to read those books you have been meaning to read? The chance to work and save up towards something great? The chance to learn a skill or improve your abilities? Life is limited by one thing for everyone: time. Time is the most precious resource people have. Do not waste your life staring at a screen and tying your self-esteem to that endeavor. Nothing is worth that.

***

Sources:

[1]http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2203025/Spending-time-work-children-young-parents-chief-regret.html
[2]http://www.medicaldaily.com/articles/11651/20120821/children-parents-time-teenagers-psychology.htm
[3]http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-19923891
[4]http://www.facebookdetox.com/2012/04/what-are-you-stupid.html 

[5]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/news/8436831/Student-addiction-to-technology-similar-to-drug-cravings-study-finds.html

5 comments:

  1. Great article and very important topic ! I am a new mother myself and noticed that pregnancy and motherhood bring out this bizarre compulsion for one upmanship - and of course Facebook is the place to do it. It starts with posting million pregnancy pictures, posing and showing off their pregnant stomach, then it's a billion of newborn pictures and then more and more every month after the baby is born.
    Just having had my first baby myself I just don't get where these women find time to spend on Facebook and why!!!? The first months after baby's birth are so hectic and fly by so fast I wouldn't want to waste a minute on FB. Some of these women ( acquaintances) post hundreds if pictures of their baby and commenting things like "the best/ cutest/ smartest/ baby in the world" etc etc. Narcissism on FB is out of control especially when it comes to one's children.

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    1. It was probably very hard for you to not give into the urge to post pictures of your pregnancy, your child, and everything going on in your life on Facebook. I am sure that many new parents' families want a daily stream of pictures of the new family member. I would even venture to guess that some family members may saw that such an absence from Facebook reeks of an insidious purpose.

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  2. The quality of interaction among people is deteriorating due to the distraction provided by the internet and sites like Facebook. And it's also affecting the way people's brains are wired for paying attention - instead of sustained attention, the brain is becoming used to short bursts of attention.
    Medical researches has shown that addicting to internet has the same bad effect on brain activities as alcohol.

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  3. I cringe when I see parents text-messaging their children's lives away. As the children grow into adolescents and then teenagers and adults themselves, adults generally wish they would have spent more time with their children. Wasting that time on a cell phone or computer is such a shame.

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  4. Deleted my FB yesterday (11/11/16), after months of getting that craving to leave. I've been on it since 2010 or 2011, and always disliked the steadily encroaching dependency on it. In the time I've wasted on it, I could've learned a foreign language by now, seriously.
    Anyway, free at last.
    The FB part of my life is now a dead commodity.

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