Social media mediums like texting and social networks have allowed us to stay in touch with friends and family on a daily basis without stealing too much time away from our busy lives.
Even simpler technologies like texting have made our lives so much easier. For example, I text my husband, my daughter and my son every day. Sure, I could call, but texting is easier, and it lets me get right to the point. And even though it can be somewhat annoying for the teen and college crowd, I make the effort to send all of my children an “I love you” text at least once a day, and for those without a phone in my family, a spoken “I love you”.
That’s why I wanted to share this particular article with you; it highlights just how great of a tool social media and social networking can be when it comes to keeping in touch or making contact with a distant family member.
In my opinion, we should celebrate the fact that “fractured families” can better communicate due to social networks. “Social networks represent a fundamental shift in the way we communicate”. I’ve said this in public, in conferences, in my blogs and with parents. That reality is alive and well and noted in the mentioned article.
Of course there’s always two ways to look at the data. Someone can look at it from a positive perspective (Wow, that’s great! Distant family members are communicating.); or they can look at it from the negative perspective (They’re not really “communicating”, they’re just sending emails and posting).
I happen to believe in the positive. Being that I’m from a large family: 9 aunts and uncles, 26+ cousins, (and the majority living 3K miles away) if it wasn’t for social networks, I’d likely never know what’s going on in my adult families lives because we are all so busy. So while I don’t have the benefit of face-to-face time with my cousins, I do have a virtual connection.
Parents, I understand that the term “social networking” has a bad connotation, and for many justifiable reasons. But whether we like it or not, our children are in the heart of the digital age, and social networks are just the beginning. 10 years ago, the mass public didn’t have social networks, or iPhones, or 3D movies—what do the next 10 years have in store for us, or better yet, our children? I imagine a lot of really great things which they can benefit from, so in preparation for that:
1. Let’s welcome the fact that social networking will be/is a part of their lives.
2. Let’s walk with them through the learning and introductory stages of starting out in a network.
3. Let’s teach them that there are wonderful things to be gained: creativity, connectivity, friendships, and rewards.
4. Let’s teach them that just like the real world, there are dangers that we must proactively protect them from.
5. Let’s be happy that with young children we can teach them how to balance their virtual and social lives with real-life interaction and real-world safe guards. Learning to do both is critically important for their future.