I loved the article “How to Miss a Childhood” that was featured a few weeks ago. It made me think and think hard about how my children are viewing me as their mother and what they think my priorities are.
I didn’t have an iPhone when my first two were born. I didn’t even have the Internet on my phone (shocking, I know.) I had a simple cell, made for taking and making calls. It didn’t accompany me everywhere I went. It wasn’t glued to my hand. It didn’t take my attention away from my babies.
It didn’t rule my day.
But somehow I became obsessed with the need for an iPhone. I justified it to death, saying it would allow me to better document our lives because of the fantastic built-in camera. It would let me work wherever I was, stay connected to family that lives outside Utah County, and allow me to quickly write and share music.
I needed one.
But I didn’t know how much that little device would affect me. Now, I’m always wanting to see what people are posting to Facebook or Instagram. What’s the weather going to be like today? Let me check my phone. Did you hear about Justin Bieber being late to his concert? I read about it on Twitter.
Hold on, little one. I’ll play make-believe right after this text.
Actor Colin Farell was on Jay Leno a few weeks ago talking about his thoughts on social media and the impact it’s had on our culture.
“You know I think it’s great. I think social media and the Internet are great, because they can bring people together, but I also think it can distance us from ourselves,” he said. “And also it can breed some awful cruelty and meanness.”
I was surprised to hear that, coming from a celebrity who makes a living being in the public eye. But I agree with him.
“When freedom of speech was calling … as a philosophy or ideology to be pursued as every human being’s right, it was a world where you had to be accountable for everything you said. There was no ‘send a pigeon’ … you were in the space, you said the words. There was no hiding behind things.”
I’ve certainly experienced cyber bullying in my life. It seems so easy — and cowardly — to write a nasty email instead of confront someone with a problem face-to-face, or to hide behind a screen name and say all kinds of mean things in chat rooms or in the comment section.
That was something that was the hardest for me to deal with after “American Idol,” in fact. I should never have gone online to read the comments on the show’s website. It really hurt my self-confidence.
I’ve seriously considered getting rid of my iPhone. I have friends that have put time limits on themselves for perusing Pintrest, blogs and Facebook. If I didn’t have an iPhone, the time I spent wondering what the rest of the world is up to would certainly diminish. Actually walking to a computer, turning it on and then spending time online wouldn’t happen as often.
I think the key to dealing with the positives and negatives of social media is really being stingy with your time — and not giving it to the void.
“It’s a really new and kind of interesting and terrifying phenomenon that’s gonna be around forever,” says Farell, “so we as human beings just need to learn how to adapt to it, I suppose.”
How do you budget your time with social media? Do you think having techinology right at our fingertips is overall a good or bad thing?