The title’s misleading, but not. You see, I’m on Facebook and LinkedIn, Twitter and Pinterest, Livemapp, Instagram, and Google+, and while I get that those may be important for the whole internet marketing media stuff that anyone with anything online (like a blog) “has to do,” I’ve decided that there’s a limit to what I can do – or what I will do. Why? Because my world is here.
I have an entire social network right here in my house. Four daughters, a husband, a barking dog, a noisy cat, and a fish. It’s the Stahlbaum Social Network – SSN. Yep. That’s us. And we have hobbies and friends and interests and likes and pictures and events. You know, the whole package.
But as a modern family of six, we all have a device. Three have iPhones and three have iTouches. Five have Facebook and all six now have Words with Friends (that was my fault, I’m a word-junkie – go figure). And you know what? A strange thing happens.
When technology comes out, our network goes down.
The house becomes silent. Admittedly, there are moments when this mother yearns for a bit of silence (sibling rivalry drives me batty), but this silence is ugly, solitary, separatist. We aren’t talking. We aren’t even enjoying something together and unlike a book, there’s really nothing to discuss afterwards.
It’s killing our network.
I won’t list offenses. We’re all guilty. Our devices become distractions that pull us away from homework and chores, fun things and hobbies, goals and accomplishments, and worse of all, each other.
So, I’m doing a re-boot and restoring my network because this network will last a lifetime if I take care of it.
Social networking with kids begins when you put the devices down.
When my girls are home, my phone is only a phone. No email. No Facebook. No (gulp) Words With Friends. The bathroom is only for bathroom things and not for hiding out (not that I would ever do that…). And those “real networks” that I listed above? While I have “friends” there, the most important people in my life are here in my house and don’t I owe it to them to give them as much if not more of myself that I give to complete strangers online?
My girls will only have their devices for a limited time when everything else is done. Chores and homework, instruments and dinner time – those things come first. I want to hear about their days and talk about their dreams. We need to TALK. I may not the coolest mom, but we’re going to keep our network going and make it stronger, one face-to-face, technology-free hour at a time.
Thanks to your supportive comments both here and on Facebook, I’ve decided to take this and make it my first post on a new blog called Not My Mother’s Handbook where I’ll post weekly on whatever parenting related issues are laid upon my heart. With four daughters, I think I have enough fodder to last me a while. :)