Has social media affected our child-raising village?

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Aging myself here, but I was in the first generation to grow up with social media being a “thing”. I first made an email penpal (off Teletext – now I’m really dating myself), I had and was an avid user of ICQ and chat rooms then transitioned to MSN Messenger. I had my own Geocities site and when Bebo came along, I was right on board with that too! I met my husband online and I’m attending the wedding of a friend I met through blogging and Twitter next week. Social media has brought so many positive things into my life but lately I’ve been wondering about what we’ve lost, in this world of constant technological connectivity.

Our world is increasingly a global one and I have dear, close friends in many countries around the world. I post pictures and the occasional anecdote about my son on Facebook and Instagram because I know it’s way too much to ask that they just pop over from France, Israel or Paraguay. By the same token, I love seeing photos of their wee ones in exotic climes. I post about CJ here because I want to share my uncensored experiences while creating a sort of virtual baby book – losing my own mum before I had my son has left so many questions in my mind as to whether what I am going through was an experience that her and I have shared.

The downside? Sometimes, I feel like we’re really alone. A like on a photo, a comment on a picture – it doesn’t really make up for people being physically present in your life. I think it’s a safe way for people to feel involved in your life while realistically not having to put in much effort. We’ve lost the real presence in each other’s lives, the popping round “just because” to see if we can help out; we’re seeing kids grow through a progression of photos rather than experience the joy of newborn smells, baby chatter and the drunken waddling of a toddler.

I’m the first to admit that I haven’t found it as easy to get out and about to see friends – it’s hard when you are juggling nap times and feeding troubles. I totally get that. But I feel like something’s been lost in amongst the technological gains. We don’t have a village, we’re more like wee islands in an archipelago – popping into the mainland once in a while but mainly just waving at each other as we sail past. Am I being hypersensitive? Would I feel differently if I still had my mum around? I don’t know. How do I fix this feeling? I’m not sure of that either. I love to blog and I love that my friends on the other side of the world can still be part of my life. I don’t want to change that. But some way, somehow, I hope to bring the feeling of abundance back into this area of scarcity in my life this year.

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3 thoughts on “Has social media affected our child-raising village?

  1. Lol teletext! I used to like reading the news and the jokes on teletext. Probably explains why I’m the not very funny one in my relationship haha

  2. I think partly is down to social media, but mostly I think it’s down to changes in times.

    Back in the ’40s and ’50s we’d have all had children, settled down and not been so career/travel driven, and all based within a close proximity of each other. Now many of us head off overseas, strive for a career and really aren’t in the mind space of starting a family. This means friend groups can change, as people focus on different things, so they’re not always there for that person-to-person interaction.

    It’s not a negative, it’s just the way things have changed. I think that’s why organisations such as Plunket are so important!! Their support, and group events for mum & baby mean there is always someone around. X

  3. Pingback: Tag! My secrets of blogging | Sweet Mama M

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