First Reflections: The Techxample Set At Dinner
Lately, with the launch of The Tell Me More Project, I’ve been putting a lot of muscle into laying the foundation for what we hope to become a dynamic community in Barcelona. A good amount of that sweat labor happens online, building brick by brick something interesting via Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
My husband, also a business owner, has just launched his business Instagram account (with my help). I’ve always been a Facebook admin for his business since it first started just to back up the team. And he’s been beefing up his LinkedIn network (after my nudging).
So, the talk around our dinner table sometimes veers into discussions about campaigns for our businesses or our careers; the challenges we face either learning something new about the social platforms; or, keeping up with the changes that the platforms make. And, it’s not unusual for our weekends to include a social media matter that needs urgent attention: an inappropriate post that needs to be deleted, a customer question that needs to be answered, etc.
We might also talk about the social media campaigns that were successful—the better-than-expected engagement of his video Christmas card and the first 100 followers of the Tell Me More Project.
Of course, our dinner conversations still include school projects, schedules and carpool coordination, summer vacation ideas, the dire consequences that will occur should anyone drink straight from the Orange Juice carton (again), etc. Our kitchen table interactions aren’t just about social media. At least not yet. 🤞
Kids are like a mirror, what they see and hear they do. Be a good reflection for them.
– Kevin Heath
Reflections On Some Scary Truths About The Effects of Tech
All of this takes place under the watchful eyes of our daughter, a tween-going-on-teenager who just got her first smartphone.
I’d done my research before handing over the shiny, not new (second hand) device to her. We discussed what was expected of her in terms of her online behavior and what things would cause her to lose her phone privileges.
After I read the article in Scientific American, Even Thinking about Nearby Smartphones or Tablets May Disrupt Kids’ Sleep, it was established from day one that at night, our daughter’s phone would live in the charging station in the kitchen…not on her bedside table.
Why this rule? Common Sense Media, one of my go-to sites for help with tech-parenting, reported in a 2016 survey that half of the teenagers who responded felt addicted to their devices. Addicted.
If that isn’t enough to shake a woman to her good mommy core, there’s more. A New York Times article from January 2018 shared that 72% of teens felt pressured to respond immediately to texts, notifications and social media messaging.
Here’s the thing: I feel that pressure too, that reflex to lunge for my phone when it bings. So, should I be surprised that my daughter might be one of the 72% who feels that pressure too?
Further Reflections: Is Sharing Still Caring Or Careless?
There is yet another layer to this state of affairs: the need to post and share.
This urge has become so rampant that an opinion piece in Bloomberg by Leonid Bershidsky seems to think that Social Media, Not Phones, Get Kids Addicted.
A quick look at my daughter’s Instagram feed shows that need to share in action. I can tell you where her friends went for the long weekend. I know who got a new outfit and where it was bought. I see who is friends with who, who had a sleepover or a birthday party…who has more BFFs. Etc.
Data. Lots of personal data. Shared by tweens, by teens, by adults.
And whether we realize it or not, that data is a highly desirable commodity. According to the Economist, data has exceeded oil in value, calling data the “oil of the digital era.”
Final Reflections: The Techxample Moving Forward
For some, having a digital detox, or least a “digital nap”, might be the answer. For many, the pull of marketing and customer relations in a highly connected world might not allow for those digital breaks.
For me, the middle ground is taking shape as more mindful online behavior by identifying when tech is overtaking my life and setting healthy limits around what is truly necessary.
What’s clear is that if I want my daughter to behave a certain way – a good way – online, I’m going to have to give her a good example to follow.
Cris Kristofits is a serial event-er with a passion for meeting new people and a diverse network of superconnectors in Barcelona. If you want to make her heart flutter, look her in the eye and say the three magic words every networker loves to hear. She is a cofounder of The Tell Me More Project and the VP of Community Relations for the Barcelona chapter of the Professional Women’s Network (PWN). Connect with Cris on LinkedIn. Or, search #seeCris on Facebook to keep up with her event-ing .