Photo credit: veggiegretz from morguefile.com
Online Consideration: A Developing Art
With the advance of online chat, social media presence and virtual relationships, there seems to be an increase in discussion about the pros and cons our virtual interaction has on health and upon our social lives in general.
Are we giving up too much, lagging in social skill development, to gain the appearance of anonymity, a level of apparent safety as we hide behind firewalls and masked IP addresses? What cost to social health and wellness exists from online interactions and virtual relations which are all too often void of facial expression, tones and clarity of emotional context… no… emoticons don’t quite cut it 🙂 ?
Are we exposing too much, “wink wink”, while revealing too little. What impact on our integrity and honesty does this relatively newer technology actually have? Imagine developing a relationship with someone with the following qualities. How well do you think it would go? You be the judge…
Potential Online Presentation of Self (vs. Face-to-Face)
Less inhibited – less restricted, freer to speak up?
Talk more, more open and opinionated online?
Revealing parts of self perhaps more impulsively?
Less protective or more protected?
Speech & tone absent or limited?
Harmful… risk factor?
Confused privacy boundaries?
Less or more accountability?
Can possibly be creeped, harassed, bothered more easily?
Cut out or cut off quickly, even immediately?
Hectic, rushed and more or less emotionally charged?
Missing much expression via face and tone?
Of course, many of us have heard stories of relationships developing online and those who have met one another, at least initially, with success. Steps can be taken to safeguard online activity beginning with limiting children to an hour or so per day. Additional time can be rewarded for additional involvement in other socially rewarding activities. These may include playing with friends, completion of homework, household chores or various hobbies such as sports, music, art etc..
Additional screen time may also be given in return for extracurricular reading and writing, math or whatever skill you feel your child requires extra effort in. The formula may be one to two, so for fifteen more minutes of piano or English homework your child gets thirty more minutes online time whether gaming or accessing social media. This approach is best viewed as a “win-win”.
Getting children and adults involved in activities “offline” seems to require effort and I feel somewhat hypocritical as I sit here writing this blog post… lol 🙂 . Suffice it to say that attention to healthy child and family development requires a regular review of our online involvement, presentation and the development of integrity even in, perhaps especially in our “virtual world”.