“I walked out of my bathroom yesterday, wrapped in a towel, only to hear my ten year-old yell, ‘I’m going live!’”.
“Going live” is now evidently the thing. This ten year-old was “going live” on Musical.ly, only to show her latest “slime” to her five followers, including grandparents and an aunt. “Going live” basically means live-streaming a video of you—doing whatever you want to do. People who follow you can click to watch and comment, unless you turn off the commenting feature. (And slime, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like). Facebook has a live component, as well as Instagram. In fact, TeenVogue recently did an article called “6 Tips for Instagram Live.” The article went on to say, “To make an even bolder statement without the peanut galleries of the internet stealing your spotlight, let your live video to stand on its own.”1
“Without the internet stealing your spotlight…”
…And there it is. This spotlight is truly a phenomenon that this generation of children and teens will grow up familiar with, in ways we never were. What’s it doing to the kids we love? The data is still out on that. We do know, however, that a study out of UCLA said that kids who went just 5 days without technology were significantly better at reading emotions on the faces of others than those who didn’t.2 We know just the overexposure to screens has multiple impacts, on their social skills learning, their cognitive and emotional development, and even their physical health. But, the “going live” thing is going to come with its own complications.
As in most things technology-related, conversation seems to be of the utmost importance. If you decide to let your kids go “live”, talk to them about it beforehand. We would suggest limiting it, as well…not only the time spent, but the audience size. Again, we want the kids we love to be developing who they are from the inside out, whereas technology often seems to develop the outside only.
Why do your kids want to go live? Who will be watching? What will they be talking about? And is there a way for them to do something that helps them encourage others in the midst of the live?
For generations, parents have tried to communicate a similar message to their kids in their most narcissistic moments: It’s not about you. Now, in fact, it is. We need to keep coming up with ways to combat it. Maybe for every “live” session they hold, they write three letters to people they love. Or they encourage five different people on their social media. Maybe they earn “live” time by doing chores or helping around the house. We need to keep talking about creative ways to combat the narcissistic effects social media can have, while drawing out the good. Follow along with us for more ideas at raisingboysandgirls.com. We’ll do our best to keep you informed, and talking to the kids we love about growing from the inside out. You can also grab a copy of Sissy’s booklet, Taming the Technology Monster, on Amazon.