When I became a parent, I thought the number of mummy articles on social media referring to baby sleep, breastfeeding and raising a child was overwhelming. There was and still is, a saturation of information, some which seems so contradictory to the “do’s and don’t” of parenting and nurturing a new born. When my daughter arrived, the first few months seemed endless, more so living the days through some intense sleep deprivation and the never ending worry on “why doesn’t my baby sleep longer than 3-4hr stretches” or “why can’t I pump more than 100ml of milk”. The internet and social media became a daily sounding board for me navigating the fog as a first time mum. The opinions of some were pretty out there, others more reasonable, which resonated with ideals and morals on how I planned on raising our daughter. The amount of information available at ones fingertips became a daily addiction, sucking sleep deprived and frustrated parents in like a vortex.
Safe to say we made it out of the first 2 years with our sanity intact and our now 3.5yr old girl is funny, rambunctious and lively. She sleeps good 12 hr nights and is hitting all those little milestones you expect a 3yr old to hit. So just when you think things are going well, you take a quick look at your Twitter feed on Saturday morning to see what goes in the fast lane of news information, and you see a breaking story of KKK white supremacists holding a rally in southern America, holding Walmart tikki torches & spouting their hateful views on trying to keep white America in the spot light. It’s enough to ruin your breakfast appetite having to scroll and read through the articles themselves but also, those horrible humans who are using events like this to voice a dormant. Hasn’t the world learnt from the history of past events?
Following this breaking event, a protestor the next day is rammed by a car, then dies. What follows the social media outcry of many, comments of supporters of the horrible rally then those who opposed it. It’s 2017. Not 1950 anymore. African American oppression should not be a thing. Nazi sympathizers should not be a thing. I recently watched a video about a Holocaust survivor, an identical twin who was taken from her parents by the Nazis and used for horrific genetic experiments in Auschwitz. The story alone was so sad, that this survivor withstood so much abuse at the hands of Nazi doctors. But here we are, its 2017 America and somehow the horrors of the past have been forgotten by some and used to push a “white lives matter” agenda. The Trump administration is bringing out the very worst in America. Every day, I wonder what many Americans that I see walk down the street, catch my ferry, shop at the grocery store….think of the state of their country.
I stare at my funny 3yr old dancing around the living room and wonder… what kind of a childhood or upbringing did these sad CIS white men with their Walmart bearing Tiki citronella sticks endure? Are the middle and Southern states so messed up still and so disconnected with the sane costal cities of America that they felt the need to hold a rally to declare “White lives matter”?
Having news and current global events at the touch of an app or fingertips, plays mind tricks on those eager to quench that desire to learn more, hear more opinions, and keep in touch with some of the injustices happening every day.
Earlier in the week, my heart skipped a beat back home to Australia where the government announced it would not grow balls and pass the law on Marriage equality. Instead, wasting 120 million dollars – taxpayers dollars to instill a plebiscite (which is basically a survey for all citizens) for Australians to vote on an issue majority of them would never face or have nothing to do with. Insulting to LGBTQI people that personal matters such as commitment to another person need to be put past every god damn Australian. Some of the comments of Australians seen on social media are SO out of touch, its rocked me to my very core. Us as the human race have so much further to go as a species if we base our existence on a false force disguised as faith, worshipping a god we’ll never see, shaping unions and other such “gospels” as the ultimate word. Then there are those religious nuts claiming that “marriage in the bible is between a man and a woman” when AD before the bible, marriage was in fact, just a ceremony, not linked to any Catholic book or religious preachings. Friends who are LGBTQI or who have loved ones in same sex relationships poured their hearts out on social media. I read some Aussie business supporting the SSM plebiscite and then so many homophobic comments on “keep politics out of your business pages”. These idiots don’t realize that equality and diversity makes up many businesses core values, which allows that business to mould and shape the product they are offering and the causes they support.
Social media is on the express to becoming a landscape of hate. What started as people celebrating those small life events, a birthday, a wedding, a gathering or “hey we bought a new house!” or “welcome my baby to the world!” has now turned into a battle of the wills and “my opinion is my opinion”. Its a scary place for many people, especially those who have no self control, hating, to hide behind their laptops or who like to troll others. The biggest threat to peoples psyche and mental stability these days IS social media. Its a new way for an overload of information (and not of the good variety) to cause anxiety, restlessness, depression. You could say its like a new drug for the mind, where the brain needs to quench an ongoing thirst of “stuff” in order to feel some meaning (whether it be good or bad).
What makes it a sad place for parents? As a parent I’ve come to the sad realization that the actions and unrest we see in the world at this very moment, is the world our children will grow up in, and what we will leave to them. Our children feed off our mood and our feelings. If you are glum and anxious because you saw an image of a refugee toddler who had drowned or an animal tied up with some limbs missing, most likely your child can sense these feelings & will feel the same way because mom or dad are sad (and they haven’t even looked through social media!) One day out children will grow into adults (hopefully if the threat of Nuclear warfare doesn’t wipe us all out first) and what take will they have on the horrible events of 2017? Or for the years to come? I wish for them to be accepting loving adults who respect all kinds of humans. Not like the angry KKK mob marching to uphold a barbaric piece of history which many fought hard to destroy in the 1900’s. I am sad that my daughter will most likely experience online bullying via Social media (as an adult, I experienced this back in 2008, it was awful and to this day I still think about the nastiness I came across, its difficult to forgive). I’m sad that sexist and predatory behaviour is so prevalent and those guilty of it won’t be held accountable, that so many millennials already have had to endure the above.
When my daughter is old enough to understand the evils of the internet, I hope I can sit her down and explain all of the above. She may choose to not have any Social media accounts. I won’t be sad about it. I really want her to know that people in general are good hearted but until the internet can prove that, us modern day parents are going to have a hard time in keeping things positive.