I used to enjoy Facebook to catch up with friends from my small home town in Washington and other family members and friends around the country. I also like the memory feature where something I posted years ago pops up.
But lately, Facebook is driving me nuts. I get aggravated that so many people are using Facebook to gripe and complain. It’s a very depressing place to go on a daily basis –regardless of your political or religious beliefs. I get upset when I see misinformation being spread and I feel a need to correct it. This hasn’t earned me many heartwarming responses.
That’s me diving off the blocks in my first swim meet.
Yesterday morning, I made two decisions. First, I decided to go back to the pool. I joined a couple friends for lap swimming with new protocols in place. We got our temperatures checked, we entered and socially distanced as we soaked ourselves in the outdoor showers before walking with masks on to the far side of the pool. We swam for 45 minutes when the lifeguard blew the whistle and we exited, masks on once again. I struggled but managed to eke out 1,150 yards. Not bad for my first time in the city pool since shelter in place last March. I loved being back in the water. I was sharing an experience live with my real friends. Not looking at posts from Facebook friends.
The second decision I made was to take a vacation from Facebook. There’s enough stuff on the news that I don’t need to see my friends and friends of friends discussions over it. Hash and rehashed. So I’m on day two of life without FB and I’m not even tempted to peak. I won’t delete my account, I just will take a break for awhile. My blog posts will still automatically post there so my friends who follow me can see my posts. I can tell that I’m already in a better mood.
Now my daughter said to give up the news altogether. I’m not sure I can do that.
Now I’ll have more time to spend with Olive the cat.
Have you ever decided to take a break from Facebook and how did it make you feel?
In today’s COVID-19 world, social media is more important to our children than ever. We need to understand that they need it to keep in contact with friends they can’t see in person. But, we don’t want it to become harmful either.
My daughter seeking a social media pic.
I’ve wondered for years how social media is affecting our teens, and I’m thankful we never had Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat when I was a kid. I’m also glad it wasn’t a thing when my kids were young. I remember MySpace was introduced when my kids were around middle school aged and a few kids in their Catholic school posted provocative pictures. It didn’t go over well, needless to say.
An article in The Baltimore Sun by Andrea K. Mcdaniels called, Parents’ concern: Is social media bad for teenagers? has quite a few experts and studies weighing in. They’ve found good and bad outcomes, but it seems to me the bad ones outweigh the good.
The list of problems with social media includes sleeping problems, depression, anxiety, eating disorders and suicide. Does anyone see a problem with this trend? I’ve written about my concerns about social media and how it affects on kids here.
Have you ever had a relaxing day at the beach and watched young teens posing for that perfect Instagram pic? It’s quite funny to watch from a distance. I mean who goes to the beach with perfect hair and makeup? Not me! I prefer a big hat, a ponytail and a good book, thank you very much.
Where I live, we had a phenomenon called Desert X, a series of outdoor art installations that appeared in the Spring. One I call “The Selfie House” in reality is called “Mirage.” It’s a house installed with mirrors inside and out. It attracts young women dressed in bizarre outfits with friends with the sole purpose of getting a huge volume of social media clicks. The Los Angeles Times wrote about Mirage here.
Here’s a snippet from the article “Parents’ concern: Is social media bad for teenagers?”
“A study published earlier this year by the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine with support from the National Institutes of Health found that the more time young adults spent on social media, the more likely they were to have problems sleeping and to experience symptoms of depression.
“Another study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that the incidence of major depressive incidents has increased dramatically among teens, particularly among girls, and that cyber-bullying may be playing a role.
“At American University, researchers found a link between social media use and negative body image, which can lead to eating disorders.”
Mirage, the selfie house. designed for Desert X.
As parents, what can we do to keep tabs on how social media is affecting our kids?
Delay when your kids get smartphones.
Keep an eye on what they’re posting.
Talk to your kids about how social media is creating issues for many kids.
Be involved in your kids’ lives and pick up on cues if things seem off. Maybe social media is behind it.
What suggestions do you have to keep our kids safe from the bad effects of too much social media?
An example of a photo my daughter would not like me to post on Facebook.
Just to be perfectly clear, I post lots of photos of my kids. That said, I read an article this morning where an 18-year-old is suing her mom and dad for posting her life on Facebook. It will be enlightening to see if she wins her case.
I’ve also read articles where it’s dangerous to post your young children’s photos on FB. Here’s an interesting read that explores the pros and cons of posting kids photos from the Wall Street Journal.
My daughter doesn’t like it when I post old photos of her on Facebook. I need to ask her approval before posting any pictures of her.
I’ve got some great old photos, too. I find them all sweet, funny, cute. She says friends on her swim team scour parents FB pages to find embarrassing photos to tweet.
Christmas 1996. How could I possibly resist posting this?
My son blocked me from his FB, because I didn’t approve of things he was posting and made the mistake of telling him about it. Because I was blocked, I missed the post where he tried to give away our cat and got quite a few takers. You can read more about that here.
Olive the kitten my son tried to give away online.
Isn’t it amazing how different our children’s lives are growing up with social media? We had a chance to escape the pressure of posting selfies, sushi and all the fun and smiles, all the time. We hung out at pizza parlors, long after our salads or slices were finished. We went to football games and dances in the small gym afterwards. We spent time together. We laughed and talked. When we weren’t face-to-face, we had an old-fashioned telephone and talked for hours. We also had downtime and privacy. Lots of it.
I wonder what is going to happen to our kids whose lives are on display? They don’t know anything else and even if we stop posting their pictures, they’ll do it on their own.
Swimming forces one to take a break from social media.
In an article titled, “I quit Instagram and Facebook and it made me a lot happier — and that’s a big problem for social media companies,” Christina Farr from CNBC explains how a three-month break from social media changed her life.
CNBC health-tech reporter Christina Farr took a break from social media after realizing that she spent far more time on Instagram than she realized.
It’s been three months without checking Facebook and Instagram.
#DeleteFacebook, once unthinkable, is now a very real trend. And it poses a growing threat to Facebook’s bottom line, and its future.
Against this backdrop, in August I made a big decision. I removed Facebook and Instagram apps off my phone, and logged out on the web. I didn’t get around to fully disabling or deleting them, as I wanted to see first how I’d respond to a month-long break. Baby steps, I told myself.
I haven’t been back, and I don’t really miss them at all.
Time not well spent
My break came around the time when Facebook and Instagram introduced “time well spent” features in the summer, which allow users to check how many hours they’ve spent on social media. I checked the activity dashboard after reporting on these changes for CNBC, and learned that I spent more than five hours on Instagram in a single week.
Five hours might not seem like that much, but it surprised me. I would have guessed an hour or two.
I told myself that my usage was limited to moments where I was standing in line for coffee or sitting in an Uber in traffic, with nothing better to do.
But if I’m honest with myself, I was sucked in a lot more than that, especially once I started following personal stylists, entrepreneurs and other glamorous influencers on Instagram who served as a kind of benchmark about success in my own life. Some nights, I’d pull up my phone and scroll through their feeds for inspiration about new meals to cook or new outfits to buy.
I started thinking: With five more hours every week, I could read a book, volunteer, spend quality time with a friend, even learn a new language. Maybe I’d be fluent in French again in six months if I took a break from these apps.
We take social media for granted these days. What was life like before Facebook and DMs and PMs took over as one of our major ways of communicating? I find myself using social media less and less. Maybe because I don’t have my kids around to post constant pictures of them. Or, maybe because looking at everyone’s happy faces and wondering why I wasn’t invited, doesn’t make me feel that great!
During the past few days I’ve spent with my daughter, we were looking through Facebook together. She made a comment that I’ve often repeated myself — “thank goodness there wasn’t Facebook when I was growing up!” Amen to that! I would have been a totally out of control Facebook mom, posting every step and who knows about potty training!
In the article by Farr, she brings up several points that are cause for concern. Studies are being done that may show that Facebook causes anxiety and depression. Right now, she said, the results aren’t in, but she feels less anxious without it.
Also, Farr talked with one of the program manager and he explained that it is an addictive platform and was designed to be that way:
That got me thinking more deeply about a conversation I had about four years ago with a former Google project manager, Tristan Harris, who I first met when working on a story about habit-forming apps. He described social media back then as “hijacking our minds.”
Harris was among the first to make the connection between neuroscience and social media, and question whether it’s even possible for many people to use social media constructively.
One example he used is the “bottomless bowl,” referring to studies that show that humans will often consume more out of self-refilling bowls than regular ones. The news feed format pioneered by Facebook, he says, is just like that, in the way it seduces us to keep scrolling through an endless stream of content for far longer than we planned to.
I found this to be an interesting article which made me think more about social media and how I use it. I’ve written about social media before and wonder what will happen to our kids raised on selfies. But, it’s also important to think about what happens to us, who use social media to connect and communicate with people online. Is it having an affect on our brains, moods and relationships?
The beach makes a perfect escape from social media, too.
What are your thoughts about quitting social media? If you’ve taken a break, how did it change your daily life?
I wrote this article on Halloween 2015. The question I ask is still bugging me. I think we are getting more and more research that our kids raised on selfies and Facebook are NOT doing better than earlier generations.
The first Halloween for my kids together.
I have a question for you. This is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile. What do will be the long-term effects on our kids for us posting everything they do on Facebook? I’m not pointing fingers, because yes, I’m guilty of this myself.
Do you remember when once a year your relatives and close family friends would come over and the slide projector and screen would come out? Or, when you sat with a bowl of popcorn on the carpet with the cousins at your grandparents house, bored watching old slides or home movies of your parents? I took a lot of photos of my kids when they were babies and toddlers. I took less and less as they got older until our phones got combined with our iPhones. Now, I’m guilty of taking photos whenever I get the chance. And posting them on FB.
I didn’t have FB when my kids were young. We barely had internet. We had a modem that I used to send files to a printer. There was no way to share every minute detail and selfie of our day. Instead, I took my film downtown to the photo shop and got double prints made. Then I wrote a card or letter by hand to my mom or dad and inserted the photos and mailed them the old fashioned way.
My fear is that we are raising kids who think they are more self-important than they really are. Their every move is recorded and shared with the world. Maybe they’ll be confused and want to share as much about their lives as a Kardashian. As they grow older and have their own Instagram, Snapchat, etc. will they try harder and harder to get noticed? Will the photos get more outrageous and provocative? Look at me???? I’ve seen plenty examples of that outcome with my kids’ friends.
I’ve been reading articles about this phenomenon. Here’s a related article I wrote on whether or not our kids get too much glory. Following are some excerpts and links from CNN and US News. Some report skyrocketing anxiety and depression as a result of too much social media.
“The 2014 National College Health Assessment, a survey of nearly 80,000 college students throughout the United States, found that 54% of students reported experiencing overwhelming anxiety in the past 12 months and that 32.6% “felt so depressed that it was difficult to function” during the same period. The study also found that 6.4% had “intentionally, cut, burned, bruised or otherwise injured” themselves, that 8.1% had seriously considered suicide and that 1.3% had attempted suicide.
Ease up on the pressure. Do we really have to be noticed all the time? Does every second have to be a beauty contest? Our kids need to stop feeling that they have to outperform their peers every minute of every day. They need to know that they don’t have to market themselves constantly, and that social media can be a mechanism for fostering collaborative relationships — not a medium for fueling competition, aggression and irresponsible behavior that contributes to anxiety and depression.” More from CNN here.
Here’s another article with an interesting point of view on selfies and a teen’s self worth. Read more from US News here.
“Social media use can turn into a problem when a teen’s sense of self worth relies on peer approval, Proost says. Whether they’re posting from the football game bleachers or on a family vacation, teens can access social media anywhere and at all times. And because of the constant connection, it can be dangerous for young people overly concerned with others’ opinions. They may feel like they can never escape the social environment and are constantly faced with peer pressure.
“The mental health outcomes that we’re starting to look at now are things like body dysmorphic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, depression and anxiety,” Proost says. “We are starting to see those things creep up and be related conditions to excessive [social media] use.”
If we know an overuse of social media can be fun, but also have consequences that negatively impact our children—why are we leading and feeding them down this road?
Don’t get me wrong. I love FB and Instagram. I LOVE that I’ve reconnected with friends and family and get to share in their lives. I say to keep an eye out for when it gets out of hand.
Our first Halloween in our home.
What are your thoughts on a generation of kids whose every move has been recorded and shared? What do you think the negative consequences will be?
The day we dropped my son off at his college. Yes, I posted this on Facebook.
Parents are a strange lot. In a recent survey, a majority of parents worry that their children may be victims of pedophilia, stalking, kidnapping and cyberbullying—yet they post their kids’ pictures online at least once a day. According to an article in Michigan’s Morning Sun called “Survey: Parents ignore concerns of sharing images of children online,” more than 58 percent of parents don’t consider if their children want their images posted online in the first place.
Since I joined Facebook at least 10 years ago, I’ve posted plenty of pictures of my kids. Like their first days of school, graduation, proms, swim meets, vacations, etc. I never once was concerned with what my kids thought of my FB posts. Isn’t that funny considering how I HATE IT when a friend posts a picture of me? So, why on earth did I think it was okay to post pics of my kids willy-nilly?
I spent the weekend with my daughter and told her about my idea for her first day of work. I wrote about that here. She laughed but said absolutely “NO” on posting a picture of her leaving on her first day of work. However, she was more open to a photo of her pupper Waffles on her first day of adulting. At that moment, a flash went through my brain. My kids are now adults. They are autonomous, no longer under my control, or mine to post pics of them whenever I fancy. Shouldn’t they have had some say so all along? My son and daughter have never been shy about telling me to take down a photo or complaining about my posts. I just never listened carefully before.
From the article I mentioned, McAfee surveyed parents about their kid pic posting habits:
Nearly half of parents are concerned about pedophilia, and yet almost a third of parents surveyed said in a recent poll that they post a video or picture of their child at least once a day on social media.
Cybersecurity company McAfee recently announced results of its latest survey, The Age of Consent, and found 30 percent of parents post a photo or video of their child at least once a day on their social media accounts with 12 percent posting four or more times per day — showing the extent of child exposure on the web.
Most parents identified the following concerns associated with sharing images online including pedophilia (49 percent), stalking (48 percent), kidnapping (45 percent) and cyberbullying (31 percent). But 58 percent don’t consider whether their child would consent to their image being posted online. In fact, 22 percent of parents think their child is too young to decide, and another 19 percent think it should always be left up to the parent to decide.
However, these concerns doesn’t translate into action, as many admit to still including children’s personal information and private details in online images.
For example, half of the parents surveyed admit that they have or would share a photo of their child in their school uniform despite the risk of giving away personal information. Yet, it’s comforting to see the majority (70 percent) of parents are only sharing photos of children on private social media accounts. This is certainly a good first step, but there is much more needed to be done to ensure parents are protecting their children’s identity.
“Posting photos and videos on social media is a great way for parents to share what’s going on in their lives with loved ones,” said Gary Davis, chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. “However, the survey reveals parents are not giving enough consideration to what they post online and how it could harm their children. If shared images get into the wrong hands, they can be used to gather information like birth dates, home address, school, or even the child’s full name which could lead to cyberbullying or even identity theft.”
I think the survey has some good ideas for us parents to think about—before we post. Also, take into consideration what our kids would like us to do with THEIR images. I remember my daughter’s freshman year of college. Her so-called friends stalked my FB page and downloaded embarrassing pictures of my daughter—Snap Chatting and Instagramming them. I feel bad about how I unknowingly contributed to online bullying. It was all in good fun and I’m sure and not meant to be bullying—but what would you call it when friends post pre-pubescent “ugly” photos of you—without your permission?
Here are four tips for parents sharing children’s photos online from the Morning Sun article:
Parental Tips for Safe Sharing
Watch out for geo-tagging. Many social networks will tag a user’s location when a photo is uploaded. Parents should ensure this feature is turned off to avoid disclosing their location. This is especially important when posting photos away from home.
Lock down privacy settings. Parents should only share photos and other social media posts with their intended audience. Services like Facebook and Instagram have features that allow posts to be shared only with confirmed connections, but everything posted on a social network should be treated as if it’s public.
Set ground rules with friends, family and children. Be clear with friends and family about guidelines when posting images. These rules can help avoid unwanted situations where a family member has shared photos without explicit permission. Don’t forget that these ground rules should also apply to parents to protect the children in the images from embarrassment, anxiety or even cyberbullying.
Take control of your personal information. As the number of reported data breaches continue to rise, so too does the possibility of identity theft. For children who are too young for a credit card, parents should freeze their credit to avoid any unauthorized use. An identity theft protection solution like McAfee Identity Theft Protection can help consumers proactively protect their identity and keep their personal information secured from misuse.
Olive Bear is now an indoor cat.
Maybe I’ll stick to posting pictures of Waffles and Olive from now on. I don’t think the dog and cat will mind too much.
What do you think about your children’s safety or their opinions when you post their pictures online?
Have you read the stories about people paying for fake Twitter followers? Doesn’t that sound sad to pay for “friends?” Apparently many celebs, famous people do it as well as everyday folks. Somehow upping their numbers in followers makes them feel secure or more popular?
I was talking to my daughter this morning about social media and she told me she has real-life friends that obsess over Instagram. They work to have a perfect image and the photos she sent me of them are so ridiculous. Perfect make-up, poses, backgrounds. It looks like an incredible amount of time and effort went into these pictures. And I know these girls and in real life–they barely resemble the image they are promoting. I don’t get it.
I’m so thankful we didn’t have social media when I was a kid. It was nice to have a break from your “public image” and lounge around in my bedroom or in front of the TV and not worry about what everyone else was doing. There was social pressure to fit in and be popular when I was in junior high and high school. That was enough in itself without having to keep up appearances on Facebook and Instagram. I wonder how many kids today are resorting to fake followers or obsessing over their social media image?
Here’s an excerpt from “Paying to be popular: inside social media’s black market for fake followers” by Nicholas Confessore, Gabriel J.X. Dance, Richard Harris and Mark Hansen that appeared in the New York Times and Seattle Times:
“The real Jessica Rychly is a Minnesota teenager with a broad smile and wavy hair. She likes reading and the rapper Post Malone. When she goes on Facebook or Twitter, she sometimes muses about being bored or trades jokes with friends.
But on Twitter, there is a version of Jessica that none of her friends or family would recognize. While the two Jessicas share a name, photograph and whimsical bio, the other Jessica promoted accounts hawking Canadian real-estate investments, cryptocurrency and a radio station in Ghana. The fake Jessica followed or retweeted accounts using Arabic and Indonesian, languages the real Jessica does not speak. While she was a 17-year-old high-school senior, her fake counterpart frequently promoted pornography.
All these accounts belong to customers of an obscure U.S. company named Devumi that has collected millions of dollars in a shadowy global marketplace for social-media fraud. Devumi sells Twitter followers and retweets to anyone who wants to appear more popular or exert influence online. Drawing on an estimated stock of at least 3.5 million automated accounts, each sold many times over, the company has provided customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers, a New York Times investigation found.
Several Devumi customers acknowledged that they bought bots because their careers had come to depend, in part, on the appearance of social-media influence. “No one will take you seriously if you don’t have a noteworthy presence,” said Jason Schenker, an economist who specializes in economic forecasting and has purchased at least 260,000 followers.
More than 100 self-described influencers — whose market value is even more directly linked to their follower counts on social media — have purchased Twitter followers from Devumi.
After reading countless articles of how social media is adding to our children’s stress, anxiety and depression, I’m beginning to think of it as more evil than good. Yes, I’ve enjoyed reuniting with friends I’ve lost touch with. Yes, I like the updates from my second cousin about her chemo treatments. Other than that, I think I might be happier without it. I used to get birthday phone calls each year and look forward to talking to my friends who bothered to call. Nowadays, I get a string of “happy birthdays” on Facebook. It’s not the same thing. I think we avoid talking and interacting in person, thanks to social media. It’s so much easier to text or PM rather than the give and take, patience and time, an actual phone call can take. I find I don’t like talking on the phone as much as I used to, and I often am the one to end the call first.
I pity the people who feel they have to have “followers” and buy friends. Especially if they feel their success depends upon it. I worry about this extra persona our children feel the need to create.
Hanging out in our back yard with real live friends.
What are your thoughts about buying followers on social media?