Should We Just Ban Social Media on Playdates?
The definition of a play date is to play with one or more kids, engaging in an activity where you take turns, use your imagination, and create a world that’s specific to that moment… At least, that’s what I think a play date should be. That’s the sort of play date I want my kids to experience.
However, nowadays kids are getting iEverything younger and younger. My daughter has been on playdates that are all about playing on Snapchat, using musical.ly and creating iMovies. Sure, you could argue that they’re still engaging in an activity, taking turns, using their imagination, and creating a world that is specific to that moment...
But what happens when your kid is on Instagram commenting on how cool Vanessa Hudgens’ bindi looks… only to be trolled by some offended social justice warrior who looked up your child’s IP and actual street address and posted it online for everyone to see? Or maybe they’re uploading some sweet cover songs on Youtube just for fun… and they receive insanely harsh comments about their skills, enough to traumatize them from even singing in the shower. Perhaps they’re just fooling around with the dog filter on Snapchat… and everyone agrees that the Dalmatian (the girl who started developing over the summer) looks way cuter than the brown dog (your awkward kid)...
Sure, to some extent that’s life...the truth hurts...maybe the Dalmatian is cuter.
BUT instead of cleaning up splattered paint and spilt glitter, you’re dabbing tears and putting out fires. Is that what has become to play dates? Some competitive meet-up that’s focused on getting likes and followers?! Suddenly, cleaning up glitter doesn’t feel like such a taxing chore anymore.
And if that’s not bad enough, Snapchat’s Snap Map makes everything even hairier. Now you can stalk your friends...they can stalk you. People can actually see what you’re doing and where you are!
So, back to the question at hand: Can’t the kids simply just listen to music, make up their routines, and just record it on their phone? Do they have to engage in social media… and open themselves up to total randos from all over the world?
At what point does a parent say, ‘No electronics allowed on this play date’? Being social can be hard for some people, but now I feel it’s becoming even harder as we hide behind our phones, our “profiles” and our online personas. Don’t our kids deserve to just be kids once in awhile without competing in some popularity contest? Don’t they deserve to just play?
As adults, we know how fleeting this time is. We also know busting out figurines or trying to engage a co-worker in hide-and-go-seek is kind of frowned upon in the workplace. We don’t want our kids to grow up too fast only to realize they want to capture their childhood, but it’s too late. We also want them to be in touch with reality, and that means having face-to- face conversations without the disruption of an electronic device.
My daughter recently asked me to put “no electronic devices allowed” on her birthday invitation and it almost broke my heart. I mean…the kid just wants her friends to come over and play! I said I would politely ask the moms to ask their children not to bring electronics. But really, that shouldn’t need to be a request. It’s just common courtesy.
Let’s help our kids while they’re still kids, shall we?
Are you all for social media and electronics during playdates… or totally against it? Share your thoughts with us!
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