December 7, 2015

Social media is the new scourge of parenting. Or is it? I was reading a newsletter blog from Peter Diamindis the other day and noted that his take on this subject is vastly different than most. He is a believer in disruption. The need to break the old to make way for the better and new.

In his blog, he shares two pictures set 100 years apart. The first picture depicts businessmen on their way to work on a train. They are all reading the newspaper. People commuting to work all read the daily and did not talk to each other. The second picture shows a modern subway train with all of the business travelers reading on a mobile device. The newspaper was the iPhone of the day.

People have forever walked and read a book, magazine or paper. Our fascination with knowledge is rooted in our genes. We want to know everything. Some have a thirst for knowledge, some gossip, some sport, but all want it faster and easier.

We all want to connect with our friends and family. It is easier now than ever to do this even if some think that the random text or email is impersonal.

In sharing this blog with my brother in law, he made a great point, "I love the idea that kids use technology to communicate with the people that they enjoy the most. If parents want more interaction, then they need to be more interesting. Not easy to hear, but true."

My 10 year old daughter recently purchased an iPad mini for herself with her birthday and savings money. She has been randomly texting me and I love it. The instant text from her is a connection of happiness previously not shared in the middle of a work day.

Peter's point is that the new norm has allowed us to have a quality connection with whom we care about via the social media platform. No longer does a boring dinner party feel locked in. No longer is the line at starbucks too long when you can talk to or text your buddy. These are different and counter culture thought processes.

I admit that I often frown when I see people all together at dinner on their devices. I am not sure that I will ever accept that as the new norm. I am old fashioned that way. I want my kids present moment with us. A concerted effort to be interesting enough for them to enjoy is my challenge!

Striking a balance between media devices and physical social contact with be the challenge of the younger generation. We have no script to follow. But, I agree with Peter that the evolution of this generation will include electronic social media to their benefit no matter how it looks to us!

Dr. M