Aargh! Social Media

We recently had a huge discussion on social media in my neighborhood. There was a group of speakers who came and presented a lot of information regarding it. I listen and read a lot about technology, even though I’m mega old school when it comes to using it, and I’m always interested in hearing how it affects us. Humans are social animals and having healthy social relationships within your family and community is a huge factor of your health. Eat well and exercise but don’t have good relationships? You can see how that’s a recipe for failure. Social media is using our need for social connections against us. The natural dopamine rush we get when someone we like waves at us or we have a discussion with someone we care about is an important part of our biology, psychology, and physiology. But when that dopamine is manipulated by how many likes we get, and the likes we get are programmatically shown to us to keep us coming back, we get short spurts of dopamine that don’t last and then we want more of it. We become addicted. And we start comparing our photos and our likes to other people we follow. Then we start following people we don’t even know. We forget to spend time on real relationships. We don’t make eye contact with real people hardly ever and our health takes a big hit. 

Kids are given phones at age 12 and I’m thinking, what? My 12 year old self could hardly keep up with all the friend stuff going on.  Imagine social media being thrown into that preteen, trying to figure it out, puberty phase? Teen suicide rates are higher than ever. Kids don’t want their driver’s license; instead, they prefer to hang out at home and be on the phone all night. Sounds so lame to me. And unhealthy. 

The professionals at the meeting highlighted things a child needs to feel loved and balanced so they can survive the ups and downs of life. Nature. Music. Hugs. A listening ear. An opportunity to fail and see that they can recover from it. Some of these things seem so intuitive, but why aren’t they being done more often?

During the Q&A, a father stood up and mentioned that his sons were 18 and 20 and suffering from most of the problems caused by social media: lack of independence, depression, and porn addiction. He asked the professionals, what now?  For those of us with young children, take heed. Myself completely and totally included. 

1 comment:

jamesandlindsaylattin said...

Sounds like a really great meeting. Wise words. President Nelson's fast from social media issued last night coincides with your post beautifully.