There has been a lot of hype about social media ruining the teenagers of today, hindering their communication skills and removing their appreciation for the great outdoors. With individuals spending increasing amounts of time online, competing for ‘likes’, posing for selfies and collecting as many ‘friends’ as possible, it’s easy to assume that they are losing touch with reality. The belief that social media is detrimental, in many cases, is probably a fair argument, but what about the benefits?
Could it be possible that social media is beneficial for the babies of today? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t expect us to sign them up to facebook the day they are born (although I have seen this happen!), what I actually mean is that everyone seems to be competing in one way or another; posting photos of quality time with the kids, checking in at the best places, putting status updates referring to their amazing parenting skills and how talented their little cherub is etc. In order to do the above these parents actually need to take their children out and about, get the paints out, enrol them in extra activities and of course, take the obligatory photo to upload later. Maybe, just maybe, the desire to boast on social networking sites is enough motivation for parents to actively do things with their children that they wouldn’t normally do.
I am by no way an innocent bystander in all of this. No, I too am a prime example of a mum who will upload a picture of my two beautiful boys working in harmony, baking cookies around the family dining table for us all to enjoy together. I don’t however post pictures of the carnage that erupts when boy one hits boy two with the wooden spoon and boy two throws the cake mix all over boy one’s face, who proceeds to lick it off only for boy two to realise his mistake at having purchase nolvadex lost the cake mix and also start licking it off his brother. No those photos don’t get captured as my hands are far too busy desperately trying to restore the peace and stop my children eating each other – literally! But in all honesty, for every photo of a fun activity there have been 10 others I haven’t thought to mention, or found the time or inclination.
However when it comes to my Facebook account, I often find that if one parent on my facebook page takes baby Bob to swimming classes at three months old, I can guarantee that within a week several other new parents in the same circle have also taken their babies swimming, some going one step further and enrolling them into baby synchronised swimming class at the Olympic pool for the elite. If baby Margaret has a horse riding lesson for her first birthday, baby Moira will get a horse, if Jimmy returns from reception class having got a merit for his picture that vaguely resembles a tree, Mary Jane is submitting abstract art to the Tate Modern. Don’t get me wrong, I am under no illusion that some of these posts are somewhat fabricated and that little baby Cookson slept through the entire scenario, but what if some of these babies are experiencing more because mum and dad want to show off? What if the desire to check in to every national park within a 15 mile radius means they take Tallulah out in the fresh air? Surely that’s a good thing, surely the thrive to be the ‘coolest’ parent in town mean that these tiny cute dolls, ahem babies, are being exposed to fresh air, social situations and activities, albeit interrupted every five minutes for a ‘selfie’, but still it beats sitting in the front room just playing with the iPhone.