Selfie Culture Has Me Worried for Our Girls
I don’t like drama—okay, maybe a little. But a lot of drama? Nope, I have a teensy daily quota for that. This is unfortunate (and unrealistic) for me because I happen to live with my daughters in a “high-drama” zone. If they don’t have drama of their own– which is very, very rare– they are right in the epicenter of their friends’ drama, and even that of complete strangers who overshare on the many platforms of social media.
What especially annoys me is how all this drama gets played out every second on the various social media platforms, and the insidious and seductive way that it promotes narcissism in our children. Um, can anyone say “selfie?” Which now apparently is an actual word in the English dictionary. It’s so bizarre to me, and kind of irritating to watch my daughters constantly on their phones posing and preening for photo opts. Every. Single. Second. We are in the car, video for Snapchat. We are in the store, selfie for Instagram. We are eating dinner…well you get the pic (yes, shameless pun).
And worse than that is the fact that they seem to have lost all boundaries when it comes to the issue of privacy. No matter what I am doing or how disheveled I might look, I feel like I am constantly surrounded by the paparazzi. I mean SOMETIMES it’s okay (like when I am looking cute and adorable), but they hound me ALL the time. Enough is enough people! I could be half asleep in the morning, turning on the coffee machine, my hair looking like a flock of birds nestled in for the night when I hear “Mom!” I turn around and suddenly, there I am, the star of my very own reality show called Scary Bird Woman.
It’s absolutely futile to try to reason with kids today when it comes to self-promotion, because they all mindlessly do it to feed the voracious appetite of media machines. “Do you have to share every detail of your life?” I constantly ask my offspring as I glance over to the passenger seat or in the rear view mirror, to see them giving the camera their best fake beauty pageant smiles (come on, you know the one I am talking about– creepy!).
And this preoccupation with sharing every second of their lives is starting earlier with kids. Yesterday, I was sitting in the parking lot waiting on my youngest to make the Starbucks run, which was taking forever (she must have been taking selfies with her Frappuccino), when I looked over to see a cute girl, around 11 years old, smiling in my direction. I smiled back. Then she tilted her head a little to the side and smiled, (still at me, so I smiled) to the other side and smiled (yep, I smiled again). Finally, I see the iPhone in her hand and catch her father staring at me staring at her. I immediately shrank down in my car seat realizing that I must have looked like some kind of a stalker (thank you social media!).
Ok, to be fair, I have to say that this never-ending preoccupation with ourselves isn’t just limited to our kids. I see plenty of adults on various social media sites who feel compelled to share every second of their lives via selfies. I mean come on people; just how many different ways can you take a pic at the gym, drink a latte, or sit in your car while driving?
I won’t lie; I am also guilty of sneaking in a selfie here or there. It’s almost weird not to these days, but what really gets me is that these platforms and its culture are totally reducing our kids to duck-faced kissy poses and a constant focus on self-promotion. Try getting a like for your talent, smarts, or achievements. Put on a sexy top and a pout...well, you know how it goes.
And that brings me to my biggest concern: No matter how loudly I try to let them know their value lies in their more substantial qualities, I'm one small voice in a growing gaggle of followers...when it's me, the parent, who needs to lead.
What are your thoughts on today’s selfie culture? And how do you get heard above roar of followers? Share with us!
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