On Your Side
Some parents are unplugging from social networks to reduce pressure
Susan Kim reports Video by tmj4.comvideo
Some parents are unplugging to get away from the world of what's come to be known as 'Fake-book' or 'Perfect Pinterest'.
Do you ever feel less than perfect when a few minutes on Facebook highlights your friends' great vacations and their mistake-proof kids? It might help to hear the results of recent research. One big finding: People use Facebook to compensate for their own deficiencies. Facebook highlights the positive aspects and can cover up the negative parts in you.
Psychology professors like Stefan Hofmann recently took a comprehensive look at 22 recent studies and found most people use social networks for two common reasons:
1. A sense of belonging
"It can be an opportunity to create a life that one wants to live rather than a life that the person actually lives," Hofmann says.
These days, it seems everyone is logged on and living ideal lives. Christie Crowder recently decided she needed a reality check and took a break from it all.
"I virtually unplugged from everything just to let my brain breathe," she exclaims.
She's not alone. A quick search shows others quitting social media-calling it fakebook, or saying it makes life miserable. Christie didn't feel that extreme-but she did want, and found, a new attitude about it all. "I realized that I don't have to fit in as much as I thought I did. I can just exist."
Rene Syler has nicknamed herself the 'Good Enough Mother'. She's written a book and maintains a web site of the same name. She's tired of the competitive parenting trend she's seen on social media and beyond.
"Social media is a wonderful, wonderful tool, but do you think anyone is going to put their bad foot forward? Of course not," Syler says.
She reminds parents to put what they see, from Facebook to Twitter to Pinterest, into perspective. "This is not real life. I always say it's important to parent for the people who matter in your own life and those are the people under your own roof."
Christie agrees and endorses unplugging to others.
"It was an experience that I really need, and recommend for anyone that can stomach it," Christie suggests.
When she logged back on, Christie found lots of friends who asked for advice on unplugging too. She said she gave fair warning before she did it, letting friends know for a few weeks in advance that she'd be off the radar for a bit and they could still reach her by phone if they needed. She now unplugs regularly, without even intending to do it.