Lately, I have been working with a lot of parent groups on the use of social media, and encouraging them to “jump in” and learn with their child, as opposed to fight it along the way. From my own experience. if social media is used right, it can not only improve learning, but strengthen relationships. There are negatives with everything, but if we want to use it in a positive way, the first step is changing our perspective towards it. If you think “Twitter is stupid”, it is going to be useless to you. But if you look at the potential, it can create something much different.
I was ecstatic to see the following tweet from Andrea Markusich, a parent I connected with at a recent session who decided to give social media another try:
@gcouros suggested to embrace technology and get involved WITH our kids on social mediaand wow are we having fun!They are teaching meSOmuch!
— Andrea Markusich (@amarkusich) November 11, 2014
I love her perspective shift from this is something that kids are doing, to something we can learn together. Although kids need and should have some space, I think there is power when we, as adults, take interest in the same things that they are interested in exploring. I asked Andrea to send me an email telling me more about her experience and I loved some of the things that she shared:
I honestly thought the world was done for with twitter, because I was! I went to a session years ago and couldn’t figure out the purpose of it and then just quit. But George planted a seed and got me thinking. Maybe they ARENT disconnecting?? Maybe I am?? Hmmm….
Ironically we watched the movie “CHEF” the following weekend. The movie totally demonstrated the power of youth and knowledge of social media and the huge power it has to send a message to a very broad audience. It was very well timed as I got to see a resistant parent in action; and I saw myself.
Go back 3 years and I had my first son starting high school and I was very afraid of the impacts of social media. I was SO scared of BAD people and all the possible dangers that we have heard in the news. Some of these stories came way to close to home for me. So I wanted to lock my kids up until the social media fad passed. That may take a while….. and it’s a little bit unrealistic.
A different perspective totally transformed my view and opened me up to a new way of thinking. It has also become a great bonding experience for me and my kids—who knew?
So now I’m on twitter….and instagram. And I’m hooked! …Last night I posted a picture of our dog and as I was typing they were saying “Mom, you need to shorten your words,” and “c’mon that’s so nerdy why are you writing like that” they were laughing and teaching me the way to do it. And I have lots to learn, but we are having a lot of fun. And my kids teaching me something, I can tell it lights them up, that they are the experts. And they are SMART! Our world’s future is in good hands. It’s funny, I used to look forward to getting them to bed so I could relax, now I have to keep reminding myself to make sure they go to bed as they need their sleep. Time is flying we are having so much fun.
A new perspective leads to new opportunities.
The thing that I loved about Andrea’s note was not only was it that we need to be open to learning about what so many kids are doing, but there is so much opportunity in coming closer together when we are willing to learn from them as well. I have really embraced the idea that everyone is a teacher and everyone is a learner, so it is important in our world that we swap roles back and forth with our kids. And really, as Andrea articulated, time flies by too fast to not embrace this.
At the end of the day, the big reminder for me from reading what Andrea had shared was the importance of our attitudes towards learning. If we see learning about something new as an opportunity as opposed to a burden, we are more likely to create something positive from the experience. I have always said that change is an opportunity to do something great, and I am happy to see a parent embrace the same belief.
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