My kids are in 4th grade. This, apparently, is the year when students can begin to bring their own devices to school. When I heard this at back to school night, I felt a little sick. The teacher, perhaps responding to my face, perhaps having anticipated faces like the one I was making said: “Technology is out there in the world. They should know how to use it.” Yeah. That’s the problem. Kids don’t know how to use technology. My kids get very limited access to the devices we have in the house and they can still fix stuff on my phone when I have no idea what’s going on. But even with evidence countering the reason the teacher supplied for letting kids bring these things to school, this academic argument wasn’t really at the root of my discomfort.
I couldn’t fully articulate my discomfort until a few days later when, as I asked more questions of my kids as to how devices would be used in the classroom, my daughter explained that in art class they would take a picture of their art projects, post them to a central site and then classmates could “like” them and make comments. UGH. It suddenly became crystal clear to me why I was so uncomfortable with the whole thing. One of the things I admire most in my children is their freedom to express THEMSELVES, their true selves. How many more art projects will there be before the desire to accrue likes changes the design decisions that they make? Must we so soon move into the world of competitive perfection and commentary?
Let me pause here and say that I am not against social media. I USE social media. I use it professionally; I use it personally. When the twins were little, I think I would have gone stark raving mad without social media to let me know that I was not alone and that other Moms were struggling too. But I’ve been thinking a lot about social media, the way that it works and what it does and doesn’t represent in our lives. I was fortunate to find a Moms group online where people actually posted terrible pictures of themselves and asked “stupid” questions that so many Moms have. They vented, complained, and sought advice. I’m so grateful to those women, because so much of the rest of the social media world doesn’t show ANY of that. Continue reading → The Disconnect: Pinterest Perfect