Monday, April 17, 2017

Social media

I have conflicting views on social media.

In order to describe my pro and cons of social media, it would have to reveal my age. I'm 3 weeks away from 32--meaning I was a college freshman in 2003 as I went straight through college, medical school and residency without any gaps.

Facebook was founded February of 2004. I was a college freshman. I remember signing up for it with my college roommate but back then, it was still very much in its early days. There was no photos to post. I don't even remember if there was a wall. I do remember "poking" people. Who knows what that even means?

Even though, it was still around, it really wasn't a huge part of our day to day college life. I believe by the time I started medical school come 2007 that it was when it became bigger and more promiment in our every day lives. I remember getting "friend requests," and thinking "wow, I haven't talked to that person in years!"

As I got older and became a mom, my take on social media has evolved. I do love its convenience. When I was busy with residency, I loved how accessible Facebook was for my relatives as well as my husband's relatives. We both have huge extended families as I still have a lot of family in Korea and he does in Taiwan. The last time we went to either country was before we had little C so it was a great way to share our lives with them. And of course, I would have never been a part of this wonderful MiM community without social media either!

However. as I got older, I find myself, posting less and occasionally going through my friends list and de-friending people that I really haven't spoken to in awhile.

I have a cousin who is 5 years younger than me, a sister in law who is 4 years younger than me and another cousin who is in high school. I look at their social media account and see how I got so lucky. I just missed the era of social media predominance during my childhood as well as my college experience, which I believe is the most vulnerable period in our lives. I believe, at least by grad school, you have a sense of who you are and what you want to be--in my case, I really wanted to be a physician and somehow along that path, I became a mom. It was still definitely a path of self-discovery but by that point, I think what other people posted on social media had less of an effect on me. I knew what I wanted and I was on my way of figuring that out. (Don't worry, I"m still human! It does bother at times too! Like for example, whenever I see photos of a mom postpartum looking like a runway model, it's like how does that even happen??)

However, I see the world of social media through their eyes and it kind of pains me a little. Because I have a little girl and I don't want her to feel this way. They look at Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat and don't realize that these are just snippets of people's lives. They don't realize that nobody posts a bad photo. Nobody shows their bad days. If I spent my weekend at home with my parents in middle school, nobody knew about it and I also didn't know what everyone else was doing. I didn't log onto social media and see some other girls at school doing something fun and exciting. It could have just been a photo but a photo speaks a million words and can be misinterpreted and lead to feelings of loneliness and insecurity.

I see Instagram accounts of people that I know are home but yet, they'll post photos saved up from vacation to make it appear as if they are traveling and leading this exotic, adventurous life. I look at those photos and wonder if they actually enjoyed any time of their vacation if they were so busy, creating such staged, "instagram worthy" photos.

As I'm getting older, I feel like the inevitable is happening. I'm becoming more cautious, more worried and definitely more anxious of what's to come.

As little C gets older, I'm realizing I can't really protect her from everything especially in a world of social media but I can help her deal with its consequences. I'm going to do whatever is in my power to keep her my confident, opinionated, tomboy yet princess dress wearing little girl!

Any thoughts?

X-ray Vision


  1. My daughter is 14. Insta we ok, but we don't let her do Snapchat. I'm not on it, but I read that things disappear (even though nothing disappears on social media) and I don't want anyone to ever say something to my daughter online that can disappear. I learned last Summer she had created secret accounts (Finsta? Fake Insta?) and worried. One of my mom friends more closely monitors it, and she said it is just girls having their own private space from their parents, and they don't even use their real names. Nothing bad was happening. So I decided to let her have her space there. She's confident as hell, I envy her confidence, but still vulnerable to social media perfection influence and I have to weigh in from time to time.

    I know about feeling vulnerable and having a hard time with social media - I spent years off of FB around my divorce bc it seemed like, even though I realized in my sane mind as you do that these are just perfect snippets, everyone I knew was happier than me, and I couldn't deal with that. It wasn't really a plus in my life, until I found PMG and its offshoots.

    So yes, as a parent, you continue to monitor. My son could care less about social media, my daughter seems very intertwined with her friends lives that way. But it is mostly positive. And she shows me her posts that she is proud of, silly as they may be, even on her private accounts. They have fun there. As long as that is happening I'm fine with it.

    We can be way more powerful in our kids lives than social media. I too remember the rotary phone, and I'm about 10 years older than you. It's not only shaping them, it's shaping us, whether we want it to or not. And I think the positives outweigh the negatives.

  2. I am of the pre-social media era and have grandchildren that I worry about. Before social media, my only child's life was devastated when at 12 years old a "friend" stole her diary and passed it around the junior high. Kids wrote awful things in it and signed my daughter's name and, even though the handwriting was all different, no one knew what was written by my daughter and what wasn't. She went from being the most popular girl in her class to being not only an outcast, but being in fear of being beaten up every day. The school handled it badly and I was so over my head with being in school myself, working and going through a divorce that I too essentially failed her. She was suicidal and, although I transferred her to another school, the repercussions continued well into her adulthood. Although this is not quite the same as social media, it clearly shows that humans, at any age, can and do behave in destructive ways towards vulnerable others. I do without social media, use my cell and email to stay in touch, and worry a great deal about my grandchildren's use of it. Alas, I lament the times when life was simpler.


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