Simple parenting and social media do not jive well together for these 5 reasons. Luckily, if you follow the three steps at the end you can still enjoy simple parenting during the age of the internet.
Stating that parenting was better before social media is like saying Uncle Jesse was the hottest Full House uncle/father figure. We all know this. We all agree.
Some of you might argue that parenting is easier now that we have access to the internet, similar to how some of you may have a thing Joey.
But, let’s be honest, we can all agree that our parents couldn’t even have imagined some of the social media-driven stressors that modern parents face. And those Joey fans out there can just cut-it-out.
These are 5 reasons why the internet destroyed the idea of simple and relaxed parenting for many modern adults.
1) Attack of the Side Hustlers
We’ve all had old high school acquaintances slide into our DM’s with that misleading, “Hey girl! You look great! I haven’t heard from you in ages”, always followed by the, “I just started my own side business with ‘X’ and I think you’d love our products!”
While some of these side businesses offer nice services and help provide needed cash flow for some parents, they torture everyone else in these two ways.
First, it contributed to this fast-paced culture where many of us feel like we aren’t doing enough.
“If Sarah can work a full time job, take care of three kids, and earn extra income selling mascara, I should be able to.”
We feel lazy and get down on ourselves if we are “just” stay-at-home moms or we feel like failures if we aren’t keeping up (even if we already have jobs), even though we should be praised for focusing on our kids and other responsibilities.
Secondly, these lead to costly pity purchases and awkward conversations with these friends and acquaintances over products you never would have considered buying (like $100 on nail polish stickers).
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2) Seeing others ONLY ‘living their best lives’ is depressing
None of us have perfect lives, but social media would say otherwise.
We shouldn’t expect others to post about marriage troubles, how much they hate their job, or when they are sick of their kids. However, when we constantly see others only posting the ‘good’, we forget that they may have struggles, too.
Seeing other people only posting their #livingmybestlife images, makes us feel alone in our struggles with parenting and life.
In fact, many studies have linked social media usage to depression and anxiety. The University of Pennsylvania conducted a study comparing different levels of social media use to mental health. They found that limiting social media use to approximately 30 minutes per day may lead to significant improvement in well-being.
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3) The Need to Post Everything is Real
One summer evening my kids were playing nicely in the backyard. They were building a fort out of branches they dragged up from the woods behind our yard.
I interrupted them to shove them in our car, and drive 30 minutes away to pick strawberries.
They were hot, irritable, and tormented by the bees chasing them.
Why did I feel like I had to drag them away from their quiet, creative play and force them into an adventure?
Because I thought how cute the pictures would be and I wanted to post them on Facebook. No joke.
Do activities because you all want to, not to brag to others.
4) Opinions, Opinions Everywhere!
The old co-worker is posting politically-charged memes on a daily basis.
That girl you graduated high school with shared an article about the dangers of eating processed food.
Your new neighbor is sharing her daily homeschool, Pinterest-inspired art projects (and throws in jabs about how irresponsible it is to send kids to public schools).
You can’t scroll through any social media platform without being harassed by the opinions of others.
The funny thing is- many of these opinions are coming from people you shouldn’t really care about.
Someone you met once. A person you hardly knew years ago. Or a distant relative. The opinions are flying in from all angles, and can be hard to sort through.
5) An Added Danger for our Kids
As if parents needed an extra thing to keep them up at night, social media adds an entirely new layer of complexity to parenting. Privacy issues, screen addiction, and cyberbullying are just some of these dangers.
We have to worry about what and who our kids are exposed to on social media. Even parents who have strict rules about social media usage can’t always be sure that kids are following these rules when they are not home.
According to recent surveys:
- 69% of people report having done something abusive to others online
- 87% of people have witnessed cyber-bullying online
- Over half of LGBTQ youth have reported being cyber-bullied
- 64% of people cyber-bullied have reported that it negatively impacts their ability to learn and feel safe at school.
Teach your children to be safe and accountable on social media with this family contract.
Final Thoughts on Parenting and Social Media
Many of us long for a more simpler way of parenting, and social media seems to rip that option away from us.
Luckily, coming to this realization is only the first step. Social media shouldn’t drive what we do or how we feel. Take the power away from social media by:
- Taking steps to limit your screen usage
- Unfriending anyone who makes you feel inferior or uncomfortable
- Following these 7 social media rules yourself
Focus on building a family who is healthy at home and strong in the world.
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