Making the Most of Social Media; the Act of Becoming UN-Socially Social

There are days I used to feel sorry for my son;   I have one boy; now age 20.   Obviously he has grown up in the age of personal technology.  I do my best to embrace it (like take courses to expand my reach and understanding) but he has pretty much lived and breathed it from the time he was just a little snapper.

Whilst he was little I monitored what he did online, limited exposure and explained the dangers of Social Media.  I parented around it – mostly keeping him so busy with sports that he fell asleep nice and early with little time to engage online.    To the best of my knowledge he didn’t get himself into too much trouble and he was not at the butt end of trouble either.

It was my husbands and my dream to live in the country so we did it, we uprooted the kid and moved to the country – the boy was age 14.   He was onboard for the move, super excited as he loved the outdoors.  He was excited to do things like get an ATV.   The honeymoon wore off quickly.

OH no.

For us the peaceful living was exactly what we expected it to be – amazing.

For the boy it was a nightmare.

He was used to city life, the school next door – countless friends on the street to these guys 20160905_185139 being our closest neighbor.   My husband and I did as good of a job as we could; getting him into town for visits, and of course we kept up with the sporting events.  That Social aspect, that instant connection with peers for him was gone.   That walk out on the street and see a buddy was gone.  He was a lonely kid.

For a while he was sad then I noticed that the cell phone/IPad/ computer/ Xbox were in use a lot more.  The text messages were flying, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, were being used more and more.  I was worried, what was wrong with him?  Why didn’t he want to see his friends?   When I was a kid I was always trying to get my parents to drive me somewhere, to do something.    He stopped asking me for drives to town, declined events and invites.   Our main concern was that he was not social, that he was shutting himself off from the world and avoiding people.    I had so many questions, was he ok?

Since then I have learned – Boy was I wrong.

While I was upstairs worrying about him having no friends, no social life… he was downstairs (in his little domain) having a great time.  He was socializing and talking to people all the time.  His peers found him, just not in person.  They found him online and they engaged with him.   He was no longer lonely; in fact there were times he admits now that he is older he had too much on the go.   Who knew?

What I needed to understand as a parent was that kids don’t do things the same anymore.  A lot of what they do is online, not in person and while that is not how I would do things, it is ok.  My needs are not the same as his.   While he is playing his Xbox games (appearing to be alone) he is talking to a group of friends that are all doing the same thing at home.   Relief.

Obviously things are different now; he is 20 and lives on his own while at University (note: with friends).   He sublets his place and comes home in the summer to stay with us.  I feel the need to tell you, if he is not at work, or with us he is probably downstairs using some form of social media and that is OK with me.

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This story is mine.   I am sure every experience will be different; I want to encourage you to talk to someone if you are lonely – reach out.   There is help waiting for you.

for Kids help line click here

If you feel lost and alone click here

Online access is not enough for everyone so I would also encourage all parents to open a discussion with their children, make sure they are getting what they need socially.   Everyone’s needs are different!

 

Facebook  Understanding the act of becoming UNsocially social visit this https://bit.ly/2tguCSp

Twitter #lonely #teenager click here to understand becoming UNsocially social https://bit.ly/2tguCSp

9 thoughts on “Making the Most of Social Media; the Act of Becoming UN-Socially Social

  1. Great read. I also have a 20 yr old daughter. I completely understand the worry. I monitored my daughters use on social media. I kept my daughter busy with sports and we were always on the go. Social Media has a huge impact on their life. I know when I divorced from her father that was how they communicated and it drove me nuts. I could not understand why my ex could not pick up the phone and have an actual conversation so my daughter could hear his tone in his voice. Make it more personable maybe.

    • Oh hey yes I agree hearing someone is so much more useful while communicating. A lot is missed when we don’t hear the inflection and tone of the words.
      Thanks for your comments!

  2. Interesting read. It understandable why you were worried but it’s good to see that you didn’t have to be. Unfortunately, that might not always be the case so I liked that you gave options where people can turn too.

    • Thank you for the comment. I 100% agree that it can be a unsafe environment for some. For my kiddo it was a lifeline and I was trying to show an upside for the isolated. We often hear of the bad.

  3. Very interesting Blog, I have contemplated for years to move to the country again. But in all honesty, my boys (age 17 and 14) have played a big role in my decision that now is not the right time. Although they are on several forms of social media every day, they are still hanging out with friends, playing basketball, volley ball and each have their first jobs. I think for me (and them) that staying in the city is best for now, as they would be loosing out on a lot of those things. It’s great to read that your son had adapted when you made that decision to move. We do constantly worry about our children and the risks to any decision we make for them.

    • Thank you for the comment. It sure takes a lot of commitment (drive time, organization) and I am not sure we would have made the same decision if we had more kids to consider. Once he was driving things really turned around for us. Now he really enjoys the time he spends at home. Now i worry when he is off at school..haha.

  4. Great post. I have three young children myself. The older two are now using social media a lot but I like to keep an even balance of screen time and activity. I also talk with them a lot about the benefits and dangers of using social media. We live in the city and they are now pretty street smart. I think ill teach them to be as internet smart as they are street smart.

    • Thank you for the comment. I have to admit I used to snoop into his accounts to make sure he was behaving. Id do it again if I had the chance. Its our job to protect and teach but we first need the knowledge. Three kids! Whooah you are one busy mom.

  5. Great post Muffy! I teach in post secondary and I can tell you how hard it is to ask students to put their phone away. Its like I am asking them to do something which is very hard! The times today are very different than when I was in classroom. Technology has surely got us connected well and closer but I agree with you that being with friends and spending time together is more fun than being on social media. I know few people who would hate to talk on the phone, if I call they will not answer and within few minutes will text me back asking if I called. As a parent, I think everyone should monitor young children and explain advantages and disadvantages of social media.

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