Kids Find Balance Between Online and Offline Life
Last week I posted this article about an increasingly popular choice for individuals to give up Facebook for Lent on where else? My Facebook wall. I had a few responses come in, but I was most interested in the comments from one of my teaching friends about her daughter’s “(Julie’s”) experience choosing to giving up some of her connectivity in observance of Lent.
I have several takeaways from this exchange, the first being that Julie identifies that text messaging and MySpace usage are significant enough in her life that she considers them valuable sacrifices in observance of her religious tradition. My second realization is the flipside of my previous, being that while high-tech interactions are common and an integral part of teen life, Julie was also comfortable using other means of communication, as were her friends.
In my mind, there’s an analogy here to camping: most people choose to go camping because they enjoy the experience — natural surroundings, change of pace from city life, a reminder of the importance of balance in our lives. Camping for a few days can be a great time, but not too many of us would opt to leave our climate controlled homes for life in a nylon tent.
Julie’s breaks from MySpace and texting are much like going camping — an opportunity to find that balance and peace that often comes with unplugging ourselves for awhile. While Julie’s commitments to abstain from MySpace and texting throughout Lent are longer than I would personally prefer to go camping, they are great opportunities for her to participate in a spiritual practice she finds meaningful as well as take a break from being totally wired.
With many noisy critics complaining about the all-consuming nature of online connectivity for today’s tweens and teens, Julie’s decision is a great example of kids seeking out some balance for themselves. I’ll hit her mama up for more information of how this year’s commitment went after Easter!
(Conversation reprinted with permission from Julie’s mama and names changed for Julie’s privacy — thanks Julie’s Mom!)
Entry filed under: Communication, Kids, Learning, Opportunities, Parents, Social Media, Social Networks, Youth. Tags: Communication, Facebook, finding balance, give up facebook for lent, Lent, MySpace, teen connectivity, unplugging.