I think this is my last post (for now) about social media. This one is huge, in my opinion. As big as protecting our marriages by watching what we post, I think.
Our kids are watching what we post. No matter where you fall on TOS and letting kids younger than 13 create an account, or not letting them create one until they are 13. Or not until they are on their own as adults. It doesn’t matter how old they are, they are watching what you post.
In fact, my 7 year old watches everything I post, every chance he gets. He asks me, “Are you putting that on Facebook?” when I’m typing on my phone. He reads over my shoulder if I’m not paying attention. Because of his interest, his younger brother is taking an interest, too. And I’m friends with my stepson on FB, so he can see everything I post.
We are always talking about monitoring what our kids are posting, gently correcting them when they go too far, or post something they shouldn’t. Hopefully we are monitoring who they are friends with, and teaching them not to share too much personal data. No matter the level of involvement we take with them and their use of social media, we have all probably said something about using it carefully.
What are they learning from our example? Are we careful with what we post? Do we keep our words kind or say nothing at all? Or do we gripe about bad drivers, rude store clerks, and complain about our spouse and kids? It takes 10 positives to ease 1 negative. So just think, if we complained about the kids on Monday, it isn’t until Wed/Thursday of the following week that they are feeling better about that negative thing. (Assuming we post once per day, and don’t post any other negative in the time period.)
That’s not the end. Our kids are learning to lie or tell the truth based on what we do and say. Little white lies, even on social media, are telling them it’s okay to lie. They are also learning how to talk about other people. They are learning when to keep their mouths shut based on when we do the same. So, is it okay to call people stupid? I think not, but if I’m posting about that stupid driver that cut me off &%*$(, then they are learning it’s okay as long as you bleep out the yucky words. But let’s face it; it’s not really okay to talk about people that way, even if they weren’t driving the way you wanted them to.
They will also learn how to treat their spouse in the public eye based on how you treat your spouse in the public eye. Are you lifting yours up or tearing them down? Yes, the things you do in private, at home, teach them, too. But when hunny hurts your feelings and you blast it all over social media, those little eyes are learning that’s okay. And then, the will hurt their spouse the same way.
End the cycle now. Ask yourself, as you type out your next status update, what am I teaching my kids by posting this? Would I want them to see this? If the lesson is negative, or it’s not for their eyes, then don’t post it.
8 thoughts on “Social Media: They Are Watching”
I mostly agree, but I think, as far as bad drivers are concerned, that it is actually more important to teach kids not to follow THEIR example (by being bad drivers), than not to follow my example of getting upset with bad drivers. Any time I have Anne in the car and somebody cuts me off, fails to signal, runs a red light, etc, etc, I am always careful to point this out. And of course I point out how they, and we, could have been killed, our cars destroyed, etc. But let’s face it. Kids think they are immortal and don’t value possessions, normally. So I’m also careful to point out how being a bad driver exposes you to the censure of the entire world. That’s, alas, probably more important to a kid. I always tell her, don’t grow up to be a bad driver, Anne. Otherwise, random strangers will question your intelligence, morals, parentage and sobriety. Of course, no data yet on if this approach will work. But I’m hopeful!
I love it, Bryna! I think it’s incredibly important to seize teaching moments just like this with kids. Often when the immortality of youth wears off, those words sink in. They aren’t wasted, even if it appears that they fall on deaf ears at the time!!
Regina, this is very well said. I often see posts on social media from others that will leave me wondering why on earth they posted that. Long after the original negative feelings that they had have disappeared, those written words will live on…..and on…..and on….. We are the ones who need to use some self-control when deciding what is appropriate (or not) to post on social media. Thank you for raising the consciousness on that.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Dr. Brown! We really do need to consider how long those written words last.
Well said, Regina! Yes, we often are the censors for the kids, but who is censoring us!? I see people posting updates that make me scratch my head and wonder sometimes what is going on that would make them think that it is ok to post such things. We are taught that we have nothing good to say about another, say nothing. The same should apply to posting on social media. Those words that are written are forever, even though the negative feelings that caused one to write them down in the first place are long gone. Thank you for the reminder to think before you post.
Thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts, Dr. Brown!
You make a great point about branding Regina. We often view are branding as a reflection of our business, but it is really about who we are. Thanks for the insight.
Thank you for commenting, Barry!