LITTLE LIARS: What Can We Do About This Problem?
What do you do when you're an impressionable child that relies on projecting an image to provoke envy? In the case of an entire generation, you post images of yourself having the time of your life on all of your favorite social media apps.
Kids today have turned themselves into full time PR firms with themselves as their only client. The only problem is that they forget that a 'normal kid' doesn't actually live the high life or dazzle everyone upon entering a real room and their photo updates attempt to speak the opposite.
It's frightening to see what has happened to a generation of people since the advent of 'Smart' phones and the internet, but now we can add rampant lying to the host of problems that the youth of today suffer from. This comes as no surprise and I'm convinced that anyone who's given the addictive use of social media by children a moment's thought would have come to this conclusion long ago, but we have confirmation coming from The London Telegraph reporting that Sue Hincks, the incoming president of the Girls School Association, sees the false realities of social media spilling over into real life in the forms of lies.
If good sense doesn't come naturally, maturity and experience teaches us that we are improved and grow from our mistakes, but when it becomes second nature to deceive others in order to maintain a charade so early in life, how is this going to effect us later when this behavior has become our way of 'being'?
Let me tell a quick story to illustrate this Telegraph article I am referencing. A couple of years ago I casually told a good friend that I thought her daughter was 'playing' her. In other words, I expressed that she was being lied to. I won't get into the details of it, but from an outsiders perspective and having been around the child enough, I could see deceptions and how she always seemed to cry out for sympathy by utilizing fear tactics and emotion. She manipulated a caring parent who was blind to all of the motivations of the child. My pointing out this blatant manipulation ended the conversation AND our friendship. The concept of confronting this truth was too much for this paraent to bear and all reminders of it needed to be shut out. That's how my friend dealt with it.
This is a difficult position for anyone without children to comment on because parents so often say, "You just don't know what it's like." What I do know is that parents always seem to cave in before the child. The crying will stop when the device is returned to the child. The television can go back on to occupy the child. All of the demands made by the child are met so he can 'fit in', etc. etc. But what problems do these concessions solve? Or do they encourage greater problems later?
It's telling that this report is coming from an administrator at a school, a place educators have had to start doing double-duty as parents. Why have parents loosened their role of parenting to a degree where kids fail at learning basic values that will effect them the rest of their lives?
I don't have a solid solution for this besides alternative parenting styles and patiently educating children at a very early age. We can't rely on others to do this important work for us. I may not have any children, but I was a child once and I had a father who instilled values in my mind very early on.
As parents and caregivers, we need to understand how our children use social media, what their messages mean to them and what it conveys to others. There needs to be discussions made about the illusion of the digital realm and real world relationships and consequences of the lives we create for ourselves online.
If you have any comment or insight, please share your thoughts in the comments.
The choice is yours @tacostate
About me: I am a writer and artist. My book Toxic Rainbows is available in paperback and ebook.