A Filtered Life

My kids get so tired of the broken record in our house…The song that is playing telling them to stop looking at what everyone else is doing online and start living their own lives.  I’m pretty sure at this point we just sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher to them… “Waaa whaa wuu whaa waaa waa”.  I have definitely learned that it isn’t just our kids, this is something that is prevalent among their age group.  They are voyeurs in an online society.

We have the whole world at our fingertips today; unlike when I was a teenager.  I’ll never forget my Senior year in US History having to write a HUGE research paper.  This was the first time we were expected to include all of the tedious extras like headers and footers, all the crazy stuff that I’d never be able to do today.  Anyway, the paper had to be typed…OK, this might seem obvious, but let me remind you that this was before the average household had a computer.  Our school library had maybe 8 computers for the whole school.  My boyfriend had a computer, so my mom let me go over to his house to type my paper.  This was a treat because it was a school night.  Well, I was not very proficient on the computer, so it took me forever.  I think it was 10:00 P.M. and the doorbell rings.  Now, my mom had never met the boyfriend’s parents, until that horrific moment.  There stands my mother, in her bathrobe, hotter than blue blazes because I was out so late without calling.  She of course had visions of me lying in the ditch somewhere.  This was also before cell phones.  Embarrassed doesn’t begin to cover it.  I just think about what I went through trying to get that paper finished…from the research, all the way to the typing and printing.  Nothing about that process was easy.  Kids now, have the ability to get any information they want  instantly.  Anything they want to buy, Amazon can get it to them almost instantly.  Pictures are now instant; not like the ones we used to take and not realize how bad they were until after we waited days for them.  Movies are On Demand, so they can watch what they want, when they want.  Everything is geared toward fulfilling this need for instant gratification.

Not only are we leaning toward instant gratification, but we are beginning to guarantee instant gratification with complete satisfaction.  So now, if you don’t get exactly what you want, exactly when you want it, you are guaranteed to be compensated in some way.  Companies are going above and beyond to try to make everyone happy in all circumstances.  Our kids are being taught that they should never be uncomfortable, do without, or have to wait for anything.  How then, can we be surprised when they act entitled?  Trying to raise “normal” kids in today’s world, is a full time job.  We have to constantly undo what the world is trying to ingrain subconsciously.

I know when I was a teenager, I thought my parents didn’t understand me and what my life was like.  Honestly, I think that is pretty textbook teen angst.  However, I do believe that kids growing up in this “social” world do have it harder than we did.  Think about it… I always compared myself to the popular kids in my school.  There were maybe 30 kids that I, at one point or another, envied for some odd reason.  These kids today, are constantly comparing themselves to thousands of other kids.  I am so thankful that my childish antics were never made public.  We didn’t have cyber bullying like these kids do today.  We also just didn’t have access to as much information as these kids do today at such a young age.

These kids put their whole lives online for everyone to pick apart.  I can’t imagine being in school, and having that fear looming in the back of my mind all the time.  The fear that my every move was being documented for everyone to see.  The old adage used to be true, that if you give it time, they’ll forget and start talking about something else.  Today, we have the internet to make sure that our mistakes and failures are documented forever.  Like I said, I’m just so thankful that the internet wasn’t around when we were teenagers.  Who’s with me?!?

I’m just so tired of this fake online world.  Everyone posts the picture perfect life:  The clean house, the perfect picture with the perfect filter, the kids before the chaos.  Two stories about two of my favorite Facebook people from High School.  I respect each of them so much for their authenticity.  I strive to be more like them when I go online.

#1.  Woman posts amazingly gorgeous picture with her beautiful daughter and receives overwhelming amount of compliments and likes.  She notices that in the comments a large number of women are comparing themselves to her and feeling bad about themselves.  She immediately comes out and tells everyone that she is no different than they are, she has lines and wrinkles too.  There was a filter on the photo and she posted the real photo without the filter.  She gave a little pep talk to all of the women about being kind to yourself.

Yeah, so much love for this woman and her taking a stand for authenticity.

#2.  Woman on numerous occasions has posted on Facebook, or other social media sites, her “Mom Fails” as she calls them.  Like, she does post pics of her messy house, or grass stains on Easter, or just life in general.  Life is messy and sometimes we don’t have it all together.  We need to get to a place of acceptance ladies.  This is real life.  I adore that she posts with no filters and lets us know that we are OK, because we are doing the best that we can.  She is such an encouragement to so many other struggling moms.  Those posts, although intended to be funny, are lifelines to some women who feel like utter failures.

When did living life through a filter become a good idea?  I would think it would be exhausting trying to be perfect all the time.  I just don’t have that kind of extra energy.  Living the normal day-to-day is hard enough, without touch ups and edits.  We need to be teaching our kids that in real life, the world doesn’t always give us a chance to polish something before others see it; sometimes there is no filter, only consequences.  We need to be teaching our kids, that some things are worth waiting for, and most things we must work to achieve.  Instant gratification is usually gone as quickly as it came.  I want my kids to have a life, not a ‘Story’.  I want my kids to have memories, not ‘Likes’.   I want my kids to have relationships, not ‘Friends’.  Most of all, I want them to realize that there is a world all around them that is full of amazing possibilities, if they will just look up and look out.  Break free from the online social trap and start living their own lives.

 

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