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How social media continues to replace our families

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019. 9:16 am CST.

By Zoila Palma Gonzalez:  All around the world and in Belize, the public discourse has been surrounding how social media and technology has influenced our lives.

Social media has changed how we parent, how we communicate, and how we react and document everything around us.

Technology and social media has also helped to make our lives easier by allowing us to instantly communicate with our relatives and friends who are thousands of miles apart.

For example, Facebook allows users to “Go Live” and document special occasions and historic events with people from all around the world.

But with all those advantages, we must recognize that we are also faced with many challenges that continue to dominate the discussion on the use of digital media especially in our country.

While digital marketing is now ‘ the new big thing’ and businesses are taking advantage of marketing their products and services and sponsoring advertisements to boost sales, families are being replaced by the abuse of social media.

Just recently, I attended a community meeting where parents discussed the challenged they face with their children who have access to social media.

Undoubtedly, children , youths and even adults can get addicted to social media.

Parents have also fostered the idea of social media being a real time scrapbook where parents document the successes of their children.

The truth is that parents and adults in general are making this conscious decision to not share their own struggles and bad days.

Social media has also caused us to ‘overshare’. I am  guilty of this!

Yes, where we post multiple times a day, peppering our timeline with numerous photos.

In addition, replacing our families mean that social media and in BELIZE, we have committed our time to Facebook and Instagram. The time spent playing outdoors or at the park has been substituted completely for staring at a tablet or a smartphone.

And do we ever stop to think that our child having open access to the World Wide Web can also be detrimental to their growth, to their self esteem and can influence their way of thinking.

Do we stop to check what they are watching, reading or searching for?

Just think about this, what if , we used our cell phones and just for one day, log the time that we check our social media pages.

Other factors include creating a culture of ‘fame hungry’ children meaning that we share with them the same excitement to post their pictures and to check how many likes and comments they got.

And then, have you ever been to a place and see the family forcing that picture perfect moment, yes, we have all been guilty of it at some time or the other, right?

This is a digital generation and we have access to social media and with that we must make an effort to learn more about digital literacy because it is a fact that we leave a  digital footprint online. Yes, it doesn’t matter if we cleaned our history, our log-ins, our digital paws are traceable.

Potential employers are scrutinizing the social media accounts of youths and students before hiring.

Evidently so, we aim for that social media sparkle, but at what cost?

While we use social media to communicate with those so far away, we can enjoy the time we spend with those near us.

So, the next time we are at a family gathering, a social circle, let us enjoy the moment and live in the now.


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