Parenting and Social Media - 22/9/12

Yesterday I joined twitter.┬áIt’s @condermichelle (I think). Seriously, I am hopeless and i don’t know how this happened. I still have a vivid recollection of rolling my eyes at my mother when we got a video. My kids don’t roll their eyes yet because i have kept them off most media devices. They watch the occasional video, some football on TV (although I make them mute the ads) and have no video games/wii/electronic devices of any kind.

My 11 year old in particular hates this. But his time is coming. Part of my thinking in this is that young kids don’t need electronic devices. They need to interact with the world and make discoveries about life without having someone else do all the hard work for them. They don’t need a mini washing machine and ironing board to play house, they can use blocks. And when they’re bored I tell them to sit with that for a minute and see what their mind comes up with. Inevitably it takes about 2 minutes before they are drawing or playing animals, knights etc… And what I’ve enjoyed best about not having any social media in the house is that my 3 kids play together wonderfully. The occasional upset, but all in all they use each other for entertainment and I really believe this has helped them to not experience sibiling rivaly. They NEED each other to play! So it’s beautiful.

But that brings me to me and social media. Yesterday I joined twitter. It took me ages and I’m still like a baby on it. Have no idea. But I joned up while my 6 year old was home. He saw me working and went off to play. Then he came back some time later because he was hungry. I said “just a minute” and then “just a minute” and then… yes, “just a minute”. He got cranky. I got cranky. Then he went outside with a baguette and ate on the step. As I watched his forlorn little figure I realised that I was putting my “work” before my child. A child I decided to have and one I am shaping into a man. How do I want him to treat people? Like a woman I ran into the other day and in the middle of our conversation answered her ringing phone and left me hanging?

How can I – in my most conscious moments – preach about the importance of relationships blah blah and then sideline my six year old because I need to see if a tweet was sent???

I wish this was a one off.

It gave me a lot to think about. I love my job. Like, really LOVE my job. I love my characters. I love telling stories. I LOVE reading other people’s stories. I LOVE my writing community. And I LOVE connecting with readers. But I am shaping a future generation of people and I don’t want them to think that twitter and facebook are real modes of connecting with others. They’re aids – but at the end of the day you can feel like you know someone when really you don’t. Social media can never replace the joy of “real” relationships. Yesterday I forgot that…

 

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Karen
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Karen

Hi Michelle, I feel exactly the same about ‘social media’. Like you, I’m on twitter, but to be honest I have no blessed idea how it works? I live a very quiet life, and to be honest, I don’t really think its for me, what I mean is, I never have the spare time to sit and have conversations with people I barely know, or haven’t seen in 10 years?. About 2 years ago, I put myself on facebook. Myself and two of my friends from the office, were invited to our boss’s wedding, for weeks we fussed over what… Read more »