Can’t help but laugh every time I see a selfie on social media. Almost without exception there is a slight lip pucker on the face of whoever just shared their own photo-portrait. It’s like a subconscious personality quirk that’s become the national ‘norm’ for teens and tweens, freely shared millions of times a day. National media icon’s like Kim and Bieb’s are training an entire generation of tweens and teens to just ‘put themselves out there”.
Kim K -courtesy of the New Yorker
National statistics on social media photo sharing are growing so fast it’s impossible to keep up. 100’s of millions of personal pics are flooding instagram, twitter, pinterest and facebook…not to mention the videos on snap chat, the numbers are enormous and growing. So much so 2014 has been declared the year of the selfie.
For parents in this emerging digital age, the selfie is a rite of passage that pre-teens take to like bees to honey. Kids are naturally impulsive, self focused and all about attention, affirmation and love. The use of an engineering marvel like the smart phone is almost exclusively dedicated to personal pics, posts and of course… ‘selfie’s.
Parents are beginning to notice the affect the selfie may be having on their children as they enter the adolescent years. The need to exhibit themselves, to show what they are wearing, newest hairstyle or latest fashion coup, may be stunting our collective social and emotional maturity…not to mention the erosion of concepts like modesty, self-control and personal sacrifice.
If your wondering if I’m going a bit judgmental on a little photo fun… I understand. So I dare you, just google ‘selfie“. Look under ‘images’. Ok, see what I mean? Notice the absence of proper clothing….YIKES!
Selfies are becoming more than a unique statement of who we are…. they are morphing into a desperate cry for approval, love and affirmation – at almost any cost from almost anyone but us.
I’m not being a downer here, simply observing what is and making some educated guesses as to the how and what of it all ! How societal trends are subtly nudging our kids away from the principles of our faith. It’s time for us to consider how we need to adapt our role as parents of tweens, struggling already with the normal -coming of age -drama of adolescence and family.
These modern, mobile, wonder devices are changing society and the emotional-spiritual development of our kids in new and unique ways. It’s important for us to be aware and interactive with our kids about technology as they make the transition from kid to young adult.
Bieber, courtesy of Huffington Post
So… next time you see a family selfie float into the cloud, remember to check in with your tween. Ask them about their value, identity and purpose… remind them they are more than a great pic in the social media tapestry of life.
They have unique and irreplaceable value to you, their family and to God.
Redirect their adolescent grip on narcissism to expand to the needs and concerns of those living around them… help them see the world is so much bigger than just ‘them.
As Christians, we have counter-cultural values and beliefs. Ideas like, “those who lose their lives will find it‘ and “I’ve come to serve and to give my life away’ - we know the bible, we can quote it… but if our kids don’t learn to use their faith as a real-life filter, we’re allowing society to train them.
Something to think about.
PS – would love to hear other parents ideas and thoughts on this one… lots of smart families already sorting these things out. Time to share with the rest of us :)