#FacebookFreeFebruary

I went on Facebook today. But not on impulse. Actually, I turned my computer on after the little one went to sleep and when I opened a new tab I saw the FB preview there… I resisted the urge until after I had done a couple things that I needed to do. I logged in and looked for pictures of a friend who just had a baby. I had 3 messages, so I read and replied, then I logged out. It feels good to have reconnected. I miss the people. And while it’s all well and good to say I should just make time to interact face to face, I don’t have the time or the flexibility in my schedule right now to do that.

This gets me to thinking about kids & Facebook (because it always comes back to kids). In their hyper-scheduled, overloaded worlds, they may not feel they have the time to hang out with friends face to face. Instead, they can do homework, watch a movie, Facebook chat with friends, catch up with statuses, and have a snack all at the same time, which is way more efficient. Maybe in order to help kids learn to disconnect, we need to give them back unstructured time, which adults could benefit from too.

Harder than I thought

So this month I’m not using Facebook. I find myself thinking of posts during the day, like “First trip to the gym with Alexander – he did great!” or “I ❤ Saturday mornings: gym, starbucks, breakfast, baby playtime”. I debated (and quickly decided against) tweeting my status. Since my twitter is primarily professional, I didn’t think the personal additions would be welcome. Also, I have a few friends I primarily connect with through messages on Facebook, so I am feeling cut off from them. Overall, I am feeling more alone and cut off than I expected to.

Already, this is revelatory to me in how we assume it’s no big deal for students to be asked to disconnect from social media during the school day. Presumably, adolescents are at the point in their lives where they are more focused on their peer relationships than I am, and, according to this NY Magazine article Why you never truly leave high school: “In adolescence, the brain is also buzzing with more dopamine activity than at any other time in the human life cycle, so everything an adolescent does—everything an adolescent feels—is just a little bit more intense.” While for me, it’s a mild sense of disconnection from friends, to my students, it could feel like the end of the world.

This short month might just feel pretty long, even to my post-adolescent brain!