Posted by Kim K.
January 2010 marks my two-year love affair with Facebook. I
remember the morning clearly. I had taken an early spin class,
grabbed a coffee at Starbucks and I came home only to find that my
husband had the kids. I had some "free time" and wrote a pretty
long e-mail letter to my British camp friends. They immediately
told me I needed to sign up for Facebook. And, so having no idea
what I was going to be getting myself into, I joined. Within
seconds I'm seeing pictures of myself from the '80s dressed up in
Rocky Horror theme-pictures that I hadn't seen in 20 plus
years-just floating out there in cyberspace. Amazing. Life
changing. Who knew?
Facebook. Facebook? Facebook! So here I am, two years later, 638
friends (and probably a dozen unfriends) from my entire span of my
life. Where am I going with this?
First of all, like e-mail, Facebook has become a part of my
normal day. I usually check it before I leave for work, even if
it's for a second. And, if I don't get to it then, I will usually
take a peek sometime before 12 when at work. I do make rules for
work days: I jump on and off quickly and I don't "sit" on Facebook
or I really wouldn't get anything done. On my busiest days at work
I don't get on, but I will always always somehow end up on Facebook
by the end of the day. Even if it's 10 p.m. My biggest amount of
usage is usually starting at 8 p.m. after the kids go to bed. Of
course there's the times on the weekends when the kids are watching
a movie, my husband is doing something around the house and I find
myself sucked into the vortex of Facebook. Two hours pass. Crap.
But I have to say I love it. It's become so many things to me: a
place to re-connect with camp friends from England, college friends
I hadn't seen for years and I am now having lunch with when they
come to Chicago, high school friends (those who I was already close
with and those who I had drifted from), seeing people's children
and their birthdays and vacation and the ability to see pictures of
people I haven't seen in person since 1991 or 1985 or even
childhood friends, neighbors, elementary school friends (we had a
reunion in November 2008 thanks to Facebook), my Bunko friends,
people who I have met since I moved to Lincolnshire.
It somehow touches everything. Of course there's the knowledge
that such and such is doing this and that as I am an avid Status
Updater (and very much enjoy reading Status Updates). One of my
favorite functions is IM. I have certain friends where it's become
an understood form of communication. Nobody can see or hear and
it's a great way to talk without having to pick up the phone.
But, sometimes when my mind drifts (like now at 11:46 p.m. on a
Saturday night), I wonder if Facebook has gotten in the way of any
potential parenting. I'd like to say no. I'd like to say that I
have never been on Facebook when my kids walk in the room, but that
would be a lie. They both know what Facebook is. Skype is now a new
thing that we are doing with friends and family and my iPhone has
become my 3 ¾-year-old's toy. I would like to say that my focus has
never been pulled away or that it's something I save only for when
they aren't around. I wonder would anything be different if I
didn't have Facebook? Would I be less distracted sometimes? Would I
only focus on them the same way I did when they were infants (and I
wouldn't even look at the mail until they went to bed)? Or, is
Facebook just replacing other ways of communicating? Like the
telephone. I remember my mom was on the phone a lot. She'd sit in
the kitchen and talk on the phone, she would take the phone (long
cord) all over the kitchen with her while she packed lunch, ironed,
whatever. It never bothered me. It just was. Is that how Facebook
is for my kids? It just is. They accept it and that's OK? I hope
so, I really do, because most of the people in the world (at least
in my world) are present on Facebook.
So, what do you think? Do you think that Facebook is a way to
help with parenting? Does it hurt parenting? Is it null and void? I
just have been thinking about those questions a lot as I recover
from surgery and have been on Facebook more in the past couple of
weeks than I have in the past two years.
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