Are We Teaching Attention Seeking Behavior to Our Children via Social Media?
Social media has become a big part of our lives and how! Most of the time we are doing something or the other online. Thanks to corona, we have now successfully begun living in a virtual world.
Everything we do in life we put up proof of it in the form of posts, status, etc. We often jokingly say that clicking a picture of our meal before eating has become a ritual. Do you really think this is laugh-worthy?
Sadly our children have also dived in this dark hole. I see so many children making videos and reels on various social media platforms. This is not a problem, the issue is with what they start expecting out of it.
Our children’s minds are very, very tender. They often find it really hard to draw the line between the real and virtual world. For them everything is black or white, there is no grey in their world. Putting our children to such misery at such a young age is not right.
Let’s begin with understanding the role of social media in evoking attention-seeking behavior in kids.
What does Social Media Do To Our Children’s Minds?
We can very easily identify attention-seeking behavior in many children on social media. There are so many kids saying things on social media that are way beyond their age. Putting up emotional posts very frequently and what not.
Sadly enough these behaviors may have been reinforced by us adults. But first, what does social media trigger in young minds?
Firstly, most of the younger lot on social media determine their self-worth on the basis of likes and comments on their posts. It is natural for children to copy our actions. When we say things like “Wow! You have so many likes/followers/comments.” “No one likes me, I have only xx likes”
Such statements tell our children that you have to have a certain number of likes or followed. Only when you cross that mark will mean that you are liked/accepted/good enough. Which is not right and there goes their self-worth.
Secondly, our childhood was much simpler than today. Children today have an added pressure since they live in an active social media world. You know who put the pressure on them? You guessed it right, we do!
When we feel pressure, we transfer it to our children as well. The expectations we have and the advice we give them can sometimes be misunderstood by kids. Therefore, often unintentional, we do teach our children to use social media in an unhealthier way.
How Do People Seek Attention on Social Media?
Almost every day I see at least some social media activity that gets my attention, not in a healthy way. Whether it is a black display picture, emotional post or a curiosity generating status, all these may be attempts to seek attention.
It breaks my heart to see that some people put up fictitious posts and stories just to draw attention. The hunger for attention blinds you so much that you start lying about things. I am sure it reminds you of someone you follow on social media.
Sadfishing is another thing people use while trying to get all the attention. Sadfishing is a term used for people who draw attention using emotions. Do you know someone with a lot of sad and tragic posts?
This is an attempt to seek attention in the form of sympathy. They might put up posts like how broken they feel or how tragic their life is.
Some may also use a strategy of leaking half information and hiding the rest. This makes the viewer of the post inquisitive. And when someone is curious it’s natural for them to ask questions. Hence, attention received.
How Do We Teach Attention-Seeking Behavior to Our Children?
By now it shouldn’t require any explanation that our children duplicate our actions and behavior. We are their role models and if we have attention-seeking behavior it can be transferred to our kids very easily.
Let’s see what we do that our children learn attention-seeking behavior from us…
1. Constant selfies with kids on social media
We all take selfies, what’s wrong in that right? ‘Constant’ is the problem here! Taking selfies and posting it on social media throughout the day may be problematic. Let’s go a little deep into this. People know how you and your child look.
Putting up selfies from every angle is a call for validation and attention. When we do it with our children it’s only natural for them to do the same.
2. Posting everything we do with our children.
When we film everything we do, the mere essence of doing the activity is lost. The focus shifts on filming it so that you can put it up. We end up telling our kids to do something again and again because the angle or lights weren’t good.
Our children begin to think that everything should be perfect so that others can applaud. For attention we forget the real reason behind doing that activity.
3. Putting up fabricated personal information online.
Our children live with us. They know what the truth is and what’s not. They see that your post is full of fiction and you are getting lots of attention for it. In their understanding, if it’s okay for you to do it, they can do it too.
We have to be very, very careful around our children. You never know what they are noticing. Social media can be an overwhelming place. It has a tendency of attacking your self-worth and self-esteem.
Let’s not let our children seek validation and attention from the virtual world. Try and explain to your children that they should limit their social media use. Attention-seeking behavior is not good in both the virtual and real world.
We all should be very responsible with our actions so that we don’t let our children believe that there is a need to ask for attention.
I hope this blog helped you understand how we teach attention-seeking behavior to our children.
Thanks for reading!
Take care and stay safe!