Judging by recent experiences, my answer would be: yes, social media is harmful to your health. Here’s why:
1. On Saturday morning, I started filling the sink with water to wash up. Whilst I was waiting, I composed a tweet about my eldest son’s complete and utter lack of motivation as he sat doing his homework…and looked up to find I’d flooded the kitchen.
Now, if my husband’s reading this, the sink overflowed a bit, I calmly grabbed towels and kitchen roll and set about mopping it up immediately. No harm done.
If he’s not reading this *whispers*…the water was cascading dramatically down the kitchen cupboards like a soapy waterfall. It crept towards every electrical appliance on the work surfaces and soaked anything even mildly porous. I paddled through an inch of water, saturating my slippers and just stood there for a while, mesmerised by the sheer volume of water gushing off every surface. Then I
ran around like a headless chicken sprang into action with a handful of tea towels muttering, ‘Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!’ before I thought to actually turn the tap off.
2. On Sunday, in response to some comment about having a lot to do, my delightful eight year old son scornfully declared, ‘You don’t even work, Mum!’ Resisting the urge to kick him in the shins, I calmly(ish) informed him that I do work, it’s just that most of it is at home from the laptop so I can drop him and his brothers at school and pick them up again. ‘Oh yeah I forgot’, he replied with the cocky swagger and careless abandon of a male who has not yet experienced the unbridled wrath of a hormonal woman, ‘You work at Ensor and Facebook’.
Oh dear. He equates the time I spend on social media sites as equivalent to my paid employment. Note to self; spend less time social media networking so my son doesn’t think I’ve been hired by Facebook to update my status and ‘like’ photos of cute animals. If only Carlsberg made jobs…
3. On Tuesday I started to tell an anecdote to a friend and then, with a sense of deja vu, stopped midway to ask, ‘Have I already told you this?’ To which she replied, ‘No but I think you tweeted about it’. Sometimes when that happens (and it’s becoming more and more frequent) I answer my own question with, ‘Oh no, I remember, I was talking to one of my Twitter friends about it.’ That would be the virtual ‘talking’ with someone I’ve never met in ‘real’ life, then.
4. It was M’s fifth birthday yesterday which I didn’t blog about because I didn’t have time (I was doing actual, proper, honest to goodness work for the company I’m freelancing for). Then I felt genuine panic because I hadn’t documented his special day in some sort of social media format. As I’m rubbish at taking photos, I’ve gotten used to chronicling the lives of my children on my blog so in the absence of this, I put a status on Facebook (you know, my employers 😉 ) at about 9.30pm last night.
I still don’t really know the purpose of this other than I felt a compulsion to share his birthday as I share (nearly) every other aspect of my life. It’s not like he was going to read it, is it? He was in bed, apart from the fact that he’s in Reception and has only just got the hang of blending ‘tricky’ words in his Kipper and Chip books.
5. This leads my to my fifth reason why social media is harmful to your health and that of your loved ones. Every aspect of the lives of my husband and children is scrutinised for its potential as a blog post; every milestone moment, every embarrassment, every faux pas, forever immortalised on Distressed Housewife for all the world (or a few hundred people) to see.
Thinking about it, I suppose it’s my way of atoning for spending so much time in front of my laptop. It will serve as proof to my children when they’re older that we did spend quality time together, doing fun things, celebrating birthdays and other occasions. It will show I wasn’t addicted to social media enough to be detrimental to them in any way, shape or form.
‘See? I’ll say, a little smugly. ‘We spent lots of time together doing things together as a family. It’s all there on my blog/Facebook timeline/Twitter feed.’ Oh, the irony 😉