Originally published in the November 2015 issue of Veterinary Practice News. Did you enjoy this article? Then subscribe today!
Are you on Facebook? Well, you either love it or hate it.
You either spend countless hours each month poring over posts, stopping at funny kitty and dog videos, or you ignore it altogether.
I have only recently gotten to where I visit Facebook regularly. Yep, I resisted for years, until I figured out how to trim my newsfeed down so I only get updates on the people I really want to know about. (Yes, that’s the other problem, my total ineptness at the technical realm of the site.)
So as I was perusing Facebook a few months ago, I came across an article for parents about the effect Facebook may have on a child. No, it wasn’t the “Internet stalker” warning, but something much more prevalent and more impactful. It was all about how kids on Facebook often see their friends hanging with other people, even people they don’t know well, surrounding themselves with friends and fun activities in photos, and become not only jealous, but aware that socially they are, well, not up to speed.
They don’t have as many friends as these other posters. They don’t get invited to the parties they see populating the newsfeed. They don’t take the fun vacations, or visit the neat places that others might get to.
In short, they become aware of the narrow, dry desert that is their social realm, at least as compared to these other folks. This can create some unwanted and unwelcome feelings, which I came to understand as I was reading this article. Made sense to me.
My daughter has been on Facebook only since this summer, when she was in a drama production that linked her with kids who are not from her school, so I wanted her to be able to stay in touch.
At first, she was glowing with how many friend requests she got — 80 in the first day. After a few days she was actually kinda annoyed about the constant dinging of new friends, or at least she said she was annoyed. I think she was still flattered. But soon enough, that died down, and now new friends are few and far between.
Then I heard her say, “Well, my friend says she doesn’t have any time to hang out, but here there are pictures of her with other friends all over her Facebook page.”
As a mother I remain vigilant, but I what I did not expect next was the impact this would have on ME and my perception of my life. As I scroll through my Facebook feed and see bunches of my friends and colleagues, I feel this little green monster rearing its head; I am jealous. Jealous of the speaking engagements some of my colleagues get to do, jealous of the get-togethers where they post photos of their gang, even jealous of the activities they do with their families for goodness sakes.
I find myself thinking, “Wow, I don’t remember the last time I had fun like that with my family,” which of course is total nonsense. I have fun on a regular basis with my family, but still I feel like the rest of the world is living it up while I sit and watch them on my iPhone.
Interesting, human nature.
So if you feel this way sometimes, know that it is normal. You are human, too. Try to remember that no one posts the bad stuff that happens, the boring travel days, the gigs that don’t go so well, the parties that bomb, the friends that unfriend them along the way.
Enjoy your life, and don’t worry so much about watching others live theirs. Live YOURS!