SOCIAL MEDIA: GOOD, BAD OR UGLY?

Young and old talking about Social Media

The consensus seems to be that Social Media might be a wonderful tool however there is this underlying fear of what seemes to be vast unknown dangers. Participants between the ages of 16 and sixty joined us in our last, “Let’s Get Talking”, discussion. Despite the age range it became obvious that everyone had struggles with healthy integration of social media.

Questions like …
“What are the benefits of putting our life story online?”
“How to manage teenage users?”
“Social Media wastes a lot of time and at the same time can be a source of great support”

… came from the participants and were discussed in detail.

The varied Social Media platforms can be likened to the estination that The trick is to learn about the “destinations” but also to learn how to “drive” … technology. A car is very useful, and it can be a helpful tool, however if we do not learn how to use a car properly we become a danger to ourselves and others. Similarly, if we are not sure where we want to go in our car we might end up in places that are not good for us. Technology and Social Media is no different.the vehicles of technology can take us to. There are countless different platforms, all have a slightly different mandate and target market.

Legalities

During our discussion we addressed some legal aspects of publishing in the public setting. Enforcement of laws are still a struggle for authorities however the laws themselves are very clear. Any public sharing and creating of content IS in fact publishing and falls under the film and publications act. There is much talk about holding the social media platform owners responsible for allowing offensive or illegal content. However, for now, it is the individual that is sending and holding such content that is also liable for it. In short saving, owning, creating, sending and sharing of illegal content is prohibited by law. And if you are found to have content like that or content that might be considerd offensive on your devices you can be held liable.

Feeling Connected

We spend most of our time together discussing ways to help families navigate and manage the time spent on devicesand on social media. First and foremost, we discussed the importance of connecting with each other in a “three dimensional”, “real-life” way and to use the two-dimensional social media as a supplement rather than a primary form of connection. If you or your members of your family start feeling isolated, try and implement a self-check and see how often you have connected in real life as opposed chatting with family and friends through social media. You might find that you are feeling isolated because you are missing real-life three-dimensional interaction with others.

Knowledge vs Wisdom

Some of the older participants disclosed their struggle with navigating through social media and found that “kids these days” have much more knowledge about technology, this often leads to adults “backing off”. We, adults, often forget that the youth might have the knowledge, however they lack life experience and wisdom on how to use things effectively. When we connect in real life with our kids over the topic of technology, we gain from their knowledge of technology and social media, while at the same time they receive guidance from us thorough our wisdom and life experience around how to integrate life.

Managing Social Media

One common denominator is “time management”. Both young and old feel that social media takes away too much time, in fact that it “steals time”. Referring to the metaphor of the car, we need to understand that WE are in control of the car, where we want to go and how much time we want to spend there – The same thing goes for technology and social media. “Remember that we are in control”, this is part of the wisdom mature adults can impart on the youth. Parents have the right and the obligation to set firm boundaries with regards to time spent on devices, which sites to frequent and content that is being spread. We discussed implementing things like having a device-free zones or times in the family home. Applying those boundaries to the whole family helps with real-life interactions. We also discussed substituting smartphones with simple call & sms only phones when kids are unable to monitor their own online behaviour adequately or when they find themselves in places without firm boundaries. This can help them with peer pressure too. Just to mention a few practical examples.

In the lovely setting of Sandi’s Bistro, we were served scrumptious tomato soup as we embarked on unpacking the web that surrounds Social Media.
Thank you to all who engaged and openly chatted about the “real-life” struggles that the ever-growing phenomenon of online living brings our way.

We hope to see you next month – 25th September 2018 – when we Get talking about “Tackling Tough Times”. Looking for ways to explaind difficult things like seperation, grief, Divoce and death to your kids and family members.