Social media has become, by far, the most influential piece of megaphone equipment of our time, particularly when it comes to declaring the many milestones our children attain. When I speak of “social media,” I am referring to the ever-evolving channels of communication set into existence courtesy of the Internet and the need for humans to share, including YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Snapchat, and Instagram, amongst others (and these are the “old guys” of the field). Specifically of first children to first-time parents, we are often enamored with the smallest traction in our kids’ development from one degree to the next…and, sometimes, we have to talk about them.
Cyber communal outlets were developed, in part, to bridge distances between outstretched families and friends, thus, mandating that users have a virtual bulletin board through which to display their themes of choice. For some parents, this modern possibility has meant an occasional school photo of their little one, a proud mention of a row of teeth, the initial takeoff on a bike. For others, announcements have been more “moment to moment:” real-time accounting of morning bath times, elaborate lunch preparations, speedy crawling videos, close-up toddler selfies, and so on. Social media, much like the Apollo 11’s 1969 controversial moon landing, is a great conquest, a giant known unknown, a high point in itself of what a human has created and where the other humans will take it.
Since we are here to link up, we can interject a bit of creativity into our explorations, especially because the realm of social media expands nearly everyday. Thus, the lyrics to the nursery rhyme, “Hey Diddle Diddle,” can present an engaging illustration of the trendy social media usage of parents. Mother Goose’s classic lyrics are, “Hey, diddle, diddle, / The cat and the fiddle, / The cow jumped over the moon; / The little dog laughed / To see such sport, / And the dish ran away with the spoon.”
If collapsed to depict just a few of our social media post inclinations, the characters of the rhyme become tropes. The cat represents postings regarding the musical prowess of our children. The cow renders athletic gifts and physical milestones. The little dog is a singular visualization of laughing babies (and video clips featuring laughing babies). The dish and the spoon are siblings. How about that for a brain-ful?
If a parent were to seek social media for questions regarding any number of infinite child-related ailments, behaviors, or ideals, these tropes as search terms may also be helpful. Besides, according to a 2015 report underwritten by the University of Michigan and composed by the Washington D.C.-based Pew Research Center, “. . .75% of [parents reported]. . .turn to social media for parenting-related information and social support.” That’s a chunk of chatting parents.
If we seek out the cat and the fiddle, it may be to find out just how influential different genres of music can be on children or in locating the least annoying musical toy for a baby discovering joy in banging items together. The cow jumping over the moon can tell parents how to handle family members who believe a boy should be involved in sports to toughen him up or researching the new safety rules in place in today’s youth football leagues. The laughing little dog can answer inquiries regarding the effects of sugar in little bodies or if a child’s lack of laughter early on is a developmental concern. The dish and the spoon are the paragon of many sibling relationships: children can be the best of friends and the worst of enemies; how to survive this roller coaster, especially when a parent has one straw left, can be found in social media, as well.
The collecting and recording of memories and information using social media are usually acts of love and should be captured as a steadfast staple of modern parenting, much like the invention and evolution of camera technology and camera film and video cameras and photo albums.
Duggan, Maeve, Lenhart, Amanda, Lampe, Cliff and Ellison, Nicole B. “Parents and Social Media.” Pew Research Center Internet, Science & Tech, 16 Jul. 2015, http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/07/16/parents-and-social-media/. Accessed 15 Jan. 2017.