Work and Money
Negative Effects of Social Media When Parenting
Scroll through Instagram and you’re sure to be met with a barrage of photos of perfectly toned and taut people “living their best life” on a beach in Bali while drinking green smoothies and saving the whales. With that kind of unattainability, is it any wonder that studies are linking Instagram and other social media to increased states of depression and anxiety?
Full confession: I’m one of those people who depict the highlight reel of my life on Instagram.
I am a full-time family-travel blogger who has built a brand around family and adventure with my husband and son. My job is to excite and inspire people to visit new destinations. Part of my work is collaborating with tourism boards and brands to help get their message out to my community on Instagram. It isn’t necessarily to tell you about the month my 2-year-old son decided to stop sleeping and woke up eight or nine times a night, wreaking havoc on our well-being.
When I post my content, it’s not that I’m trying to be dishonest. I love authenticity. And yet I don't always disclose every nitty-gritty detail of our lives on the road. So let me be the first to tell you, as someone who uses Instagram daily for personal and business reasons, what you see on there is an edited and perfectly planned version of life.
'Stop Picking Up Elk Poop'
On one hand, it’s true — we go on awesome hikes, and I am proud to be exploring the country with my family. On the other hand, hiking with my toddler can be pure mayhem. During one hike in Boise, Idaho, he fell and skinned his face, ate dirt, ignored all of our pleas to stop picking up elk poop, and spit crackers on us. If you could hear what was said while my husband was taking a photo of me afterward, it would go something like this: “Hey, bud, stop pulling on my hair — hey, stop pulling on my ears, bud. Stop it. Stop. Stop it!” This was followed by our son’s maniacal laughter because he finds his dad’s discomfort to be hilarious. So, yeah, the picture isn’t the whole story.
Any mom knows that there is nothing glamorous about being a parent. It’s messy, and a lot of the time it’s pure chaos. Yet we sometimes forget that when we scroll through Instagram and see pictures of friends traveling to Europe and families posing in their matching Christmas pajamas. We think, “They have such a great life. They’ve got it all figured out.” They don’t. They simply captured an image from one moment in time. Don’t believe everything you see on Instagram. No one’s — and I mean no one's — life is perfect.