I have been blogging for over 14 years, freelance writing for almost as long, and on social media for the same amount of time. It’s become my normal to take photos for sharing later (I rarely share ‘in the moment’) or check the news on a social media website before traditional news outlets online. I actively use my phone to stay connected with family and friends, for my job, and as a camera.
I imagined that my kids would have started to do the same by now, having grown up knowing their mom was online, and as teens now they have more access to the internet and information than any of us did at their age.
When I was a teen we had Netscape 2.0, dial-up internet, and ICQ to stay connected.
However, I use my phone differently than my kids, and while it seems like ‘kids today’ only live online that’s not really the case and we can learn a lot from them.
Yes, there is access to social media and information like never before, and it’s important to teach kids about internet safety and media literacy, but the one area where I really notice a difference is the ‘living in the moment’ concept.
Some kids will love to record video and capture moments for enjoyment. But I admire how many of them can really be present in time and in their creativity.
While my kids will browse their phone, play games on it, text with friends, listen to music and scroll their favourite apps, they don’t tend to reach for the phone to record moments or take photos as often. Sometimes they do, but it’s less common and not with the frequency that I do.
While I try to snap family photos, photos of our outings, or pictures before a meal, they tend to groan and suggest I just enjoy it instead. Family photos may be an exception though - I see the photos as a reminder to myself of these special times (and I’m happy to have these memories captured as all of us age!).
Their ability to live in the moment with presence does has me rethinking what I do.
I have really reduced the amount of photo taking I do on my phone. I still insist on a few snaps when we are travelling or visiting somewhere neat. Truthfully, I love looking back on these old photo memories (and the kids do too, I think), but I try to be even more present. One photo is enough rather than a barrage of them.
I appreciate trying to save these memories in my own head and while I still need some photographic evidence at times, I can spend more time in the ‘now’ and take it all in. It’s good for all of us, I think. And I learned that from my kids.
- Learn how teens are using and consuming digital media today through MediaSmarts’ Young Canadians in a Wireless World study
- Screen-Free Week
- Coviewing with your kids tipsheet
- Four tips for managing your kids’ screen time (and your own!)
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