I fully understand that writing about social media whilst on social media is a complete oxymoron. However the adage that your viewpoint changes when you have a baby is in part to blame for this. While it hasn’t been a drastic change in my viewpoint, I think in fact my ideas have solidified and I have a better understanding of the person I am and what changes I need to make. Having James has created a hyperawareness of world events of all shapes and sizes. I will one day be in a situation where I have to explain things and more over I am responsible for shaping a human in this crazy world. How do I navigate this while shaping a responsible, empathetic but social adept human being?
I suppose this post came about from the Logan Paul situation. For those of you who don’t know, he’s a youtube vlogger. While I don’t follow any youtube vlogs, I had heard of him and for the most part he was presented as annoyance but extremely popular. I won’t go into the details of what exactly he did but suffice to say it was resoundingly decried. The reason this bothered me so much apart from it being a completely idiotic and insensitive act was the fact the his loyal followers compromised of mainly teenagers were defending him. Whilst true, it is a small minority but it calls to a larger problem with today’s youth.
Their devices have created almost a smokescreen when viewing events. Add to this fact an addiction to likes, follows and views, the clear and cut line between right and wrong is exploited for notoriety. But is this perception or reality? Or is that I’ve simply reached that age where I view the actions of my younger counterparts in the age-old, “in my day, we never did it like that.” Now it is true that every generation with the advancement of technology has looked back to the previous one with the feeling that some of their humanity had been enslaved to the current piece of technology. Yet, this feels different and concerning.
Social media was created with the best of intentions. (*snort*) Okay, so social media’s altruistic intentions are debatable but the potential for human connection and to use it for good are immense. While parts of that have come fruition there is a deep dark underbelly. Twitter and their alt-right problem, Facebook and their dissemination of “fake” news not to mention Facebook Live being used as a tool to film some truly heinous acts. Youtube and their problems with child exploitation not to mention the current aforementioned Logan Paul controversy. These problems become problems because the precedent for these companies has become unless there is a popular outcry, they turn a blind eye. Remember these platforms are all free, and they need to make money somehow. So maybe we’re not as careful about who we’re selling ads to, or what are videos are depicting as long as they’re creating views and user engagement which is how the money is made.
This sort of cavalier attitude trickles all the way down. To where people will behave in any way as long they’re getting attention. Or to the point where a person’s first instinct in sort of potential news making moment is not to help but to film. When viewing life through a lens, you remove yourself and today’s world you have the added benefit of becoming relevant and viral. So what does this have to do with raising James.
I’ve touched on it briefly but how do you make sure your child isn’t excluded and removed from popular culture but at the same time maintains that ever important sense of morality without getting caught up in being the popular kid? When I was growing up I was allowed to watch anything and everything. Television to me was an escape and I benefited from it. One thing I’ve always felt was important was that James not be restricted. He needs to explore and discover. Yet now, I’m unsure as to if I use parental controls. Simply because the internet today has one too many rabbit holes to wander down as opposed to simple innocence of the television of my day. We’re a ways off from going down this road so I have time to devise my plan. But I know one thing, more than ever communication and transparency is key. We have a generation of children of children that have been left to their devices without guidance. If feels that a certain empathy has been lost. I know it’s going to be an uphill battle but I am if nothing determined that raise a decent human being.