Unfriended. A Personal Experience

It might have happened to you before. This week, I lost a social media friend, and I have no idea who it is. When I noticed, it stung my heart. I questioned my feed, my recent posts, and my authenticity. Did this person know me very well? Did I do something wrong? Friendship is important to me, so honestly, a bit of my self-esteem fell to insecurity too.

How should we respond to this? — When virtual presence meets emotion, we can’t approach it quite the same as we do offline. I won’t be able to figure out who this person is, unless I try reaching out to them. Should I search my feed to see if it was a “close friend” or an “acquaintance?” Doing this is only easy if your friend list is concise. It’s hard to think, if they remain anonymous, I won’t be able to ask why they un-friended me or find out the reasoning. It is such an emotional experience, losing a friend.

But what if this un-friending actually has nothing to do with me at all?

I realize that now is the season of Lent (between Ash Wednesday and Easter), and many people are taking social media breaks and unplugging for 40 days, or completely. Maybe this person just called it quits with technology for a bit. That makes sense, but still leaves me unsettled. What is it, exactly, that people need a break from, you know? (I think most of us do.) Have you noticed too, social media seems to be a really popular thing to “give up” these days. ~

Even yet, if it isn’t personal, and it isn’t a holiday fast, then why else would someone disappear from my friend list? Maybe this person is hurting. Maybe they’re going through something traumatic that doesn’t mesh well with Facebook or small talk. Were they just “over it?” Or, among even more reasons, could it just be as simple as this…Maybe they lost a friend that day too, like me, and couldn’t understand why, so they pulled their account completely. Can you relate to my experience? Have you ever found yourself in this position, too?

It doesn’t take much effort to develop a pro and con list with social media. No other generation has navigated friendships this way, so we are learning in every moment. The whole process, and its affects, are a hot topic. Why do we do it? And how do we do it well? Is there a “right” way to socialize virtually?

Without the use of senses to connect with others, it is extremely easy to develop blurred understanding. We can be misread, and we can also misread others. It can lead to depression, as we know, and it can also make way for pride and vanity.

Social media acceptance becomes an idol for us, if we aren’t careful. It’s scary to think, but true. Approval from others isn’t a solid foundation for self-worth, and it will never fill the void. We can’t let it define our importance or credibility. We weren’t created for this.

Confidence, when it is built on the approval of others,

will always be shaken…no matter who you are.

Even while we know these things, how do we handle ourselves when emotions waiver? What kind of truth can we hold onto instead?

‘Do your best to live at peace with everyone.’ Romans 12:18

Together We Thrive!

~Ayme

Positive Internet Safety

 

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “digital safety?” Do you immediately think about predators and intentional wrongdoing? Yep, me too, — I’d say that’s probably where a lot of us go. But digital safety is positive. It’s not just about defense. With time and thought, digital safety empowers us, frees us.

It’s hard to even put it out there for conversation “digital safety.” You and I, we’d rather talk about something else, – a vacation we’re dreaming of, or an exciting home project, maybe just go shopping instead. I love all of those things. But there’s great value and opportunity in this discussion too, for all of us.

How can we associate this with the positive?

When you go camping, do you prepare first? Of course! You get supplies together, and make a plan. In the same way, we have to prepare for online adventuring, put some thought into it. With clear view and a secure route, the digital world becomes less scary and more positive. Without these things, we easily end up in the wrong situation.

“Guard your heart.”

But how?

What does “digital safety” look like, specifically, and tangibly, from the heart? That’s exactly what I’m asking. That’s why I’m committed here.

For all of us, kids included, screens are core for daily interaction and productivity. In one way or another, they are literally everywhere. You don’t have to own a phone, or even have wifi, to be a part of this conversation.

I spend time here because I I know the topic is relevant for others. We all need clear direction with this stuff. And I am set out for a solid path. Are you?

Even with filters and monitors, some things are simply unavoidable. We have to seek protection for our hearts above all else. Knowing what to walk away from, and how, are key. But walking away from these things also means walking toward something else.

What are our options? What are our choices?

Join the Conversation!

Together We Thrive~

Ayme

Technology | DIY Freedom

 

Pros and cons with internet connection leave me unsettled. How about you? It’s not “if” we need discretion, but how and why, and when. “Hoping for the best” doesn’t pan out; there’s too much to consider. But I refuse to dwell in fear. How do you feel about it all?

Most of us, especially if you’re in on this conversation, are trying to figure out some kind of balance with technology. And however deliberate, we approach it with one of three ways: Avoidance (limiting exposure), Acceptance (living in the moment), or Accommodation (a combination of both). Bluntly, we either dodge it, ignore it, or engage it.

It’s a juggling act, right? A fine balance of awareness and limitation, advantage lies with fierce commitment to boundaries, freedom, and constant communication. Without these things, we fall complacent to ‘accept’ whatever lands on our doorstep.

This is all reallyhumbling.The ebb and flow for independence still requires more. It calls for a willing heart. Character is a choice, the key to all of it.

So, the question is really this.How do we encourage strong character?

DIY Positive Online Character

Could it be so easy!?

Here are some ideas for inspiring strong character with technology freedom in our homes, including (a parenting perspective).

Determine the Goal:(Independence and Self-regulation. Do our kids understand that the choices they make directly effect their future? What they do is a reflection of who they are, not us. All of this is focused toward autonomy, and we want the best things in life for them. The tricky part is trying to keep that in mind when it’s hectic.)

Determine Reasoning: Why is this the goal?(Our kids are just years away from becoming adults! Like I said, we want the best for their future. But since they’re still kids, what’s the short-term plan? This is where it gets crazy. “Mom, can I get this app?” “Can I watch Youtube?” “I want to get this game.” You know the plea bargaining, — everyone’s kids are doing it. ‘I want more…I want more.’ It’s how we’re wired and it’s how technology is moving. For us, this is where boundaries are a lifeline for reasoning.)

Design Boundaries / Consider the Consequences:(If we can’t discuss the consequences, we can’t allow opportunity. In other words, unless consequences are age-appropriate / something we’re comfortable explaining, it has to be a definite “no.” Everything else can be opportunity for learning. Well, sort of. You know the boundaries I was talking about? They’re different for each of my kids. But no matter what, technology is a privilege. The ability to have a phone, create passwords, download apps, use the internet, all of it — it’s our gift to them. It’s a ‘gift that keeps on giving.’ Seriously though…it is. Regardless of all efforts, an attitude of expectation totally sinks their boat. Expectation halts the gifting.)

Create accountability.(This is the big part. Accountability is built on a relationship with trust and respect. Each of our kids has unique needs, strengths, and weaknesses. Accountability looks different for each one. Our job is to meet them where they are at. We have to pay attention and stay aware. It’s not easy, at all. In addition, we can’t be ignorant to temptation. Even as we work toward trusting relationships, it’s only logical to limit what’s on the plate. We have to set some kind of restrictions. For my family, these have grown to include internet filtering, time and password limits, and other restrictions that manage ratings and content. What kind of limits work for you, for your family?)

Age and experience do not define us. Online identity is powerful.

Every day is a new beginning! Be determined for this, no matter where you are at.

I often wonder, what would it have been like to raise kids 20 years ago? Does every generation feel like their dilemmas are the hardest? When I wish for a manual on modern revolution, I have to remember that it all falls back on the heart. And since the beginning of creation, that has always been. I’m thankful for my faith and the power that prayer has in my life. I don’t center posts around this, sensitive that there are many beliefs. But for me, my faith in God is the greatest source of peace I can ever find.

Together We Thrive!

Ayme

Screens | A Clear View

Believing we can “do it all”, these days many of us hustle to the beat of a growing agenda. It’s unrealistic. The ‘Super People’ mentality overwhelms me. How about you? An array of media and images makes it seem possible, but it’s not. We often get caught up in a list of to-dos that simply draw our attention to the wrong things. Living thoughtfully and intentionally is tricky in our society.

Internet accountability takes time, energy, and diligence. Whether focused on self or others, we can’t be all-in with this until we get a clear view. Goals have to be realistic, and distractions limited. My family has entirely different needs, strengths, and weaknesses than yours…and vice verse. It’s time to focus, right where you are. It’s time for me, right where I am too.

Put on your boots, move the hair from your eyes, and look forward. You need a clear view to walk this road, — your road.

Self-control.It is the core of positive thinking andthe root of healthy living. We need self-control with our time, our thoughts, and our agendas. Self-control is the keystone for positive online behavior. Filters and other attempts to manage screens are only part of the solution. They are only effective with a willing and determined heart.

Internal moral judgement is critical to finding a strong way. Without reasoning and rationale for healthy online habits, how can we expect them to last?

Here are some questions to consider for our families. (Click on link below.)

In every home, no matter what makeup, screen use is a daily consideration. It’s not a one-time fix. Updates, downloads, and evolving opportunities make this an ongoing necessity. From fake news to psychologically-driven coding, we peruse feeds daringly. Careful evaluation is in high demand.

Let’s unite, as individuals, families, and friends, to use opportunity well and implore goodness at every angle.~

Purposeful Ideas | F A M I L Y ~ F U N

TV and video games are the go-to for my kids, and a good majority of others, when they need some downtime. But they aren’t relaxed when it’s time to power off. Why are they still wound up? ~I know mine aren’t the only ones.~

It’s hard to admit, yet the same thing happens to me. ‘But I’m not gaming.’ (I confidently tell myself.) My screen time is focused on “real-life productivity,” or at least most of it. (My pride deflates. This isn’t actually true. Anyways…) Gaming, social media, whatever it is, most of us like to check out with electronics. Self-control and time management are much needed skills…for all of us.

Just how important is this? Well, here’s what I found. Research has revealed a strong comparison between excessive video gaming and drug addiction. What!? I know! That sounds ridiculous. But you should read up on it. This is one of many articles that explains. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/video-game-addiction-no-fun My gosh, that’s crazy, right?

In addition to ‘preventing addiction’ (as if that weren’t enough), there are a lot of other reasons to make boundaries with screens in our homes. If you’ve been reading the blog, you know my thoughts on digital roaming, — it’s one of the biggest reasons for us.

I’ve decided to seek after some purpose-filled tech-y activities for my family, alternatives to gaming. My kids are getting older (I have tweens now!!), and the options are growing with them. We are constantly moving forward, trying to figure out each new stage. Below is a compilation of ideas that I’ve discovered, and I want to find more! We’re going to attempt one of these this next week, or if I’m lucky, a few. If you have anything to add, I’d love to hear about it! Please share with us in the comments below or http://www.wethriveonline@gmail.com

Even while we explore new ideas, I’ll still try my best to be excited when our kids unlock new levels or accomplish something so totally irrelevant to real life on their screens. That is, after all, just one easy way to connect with them. 🙂

Tech-y Alternatives to Gaming

(Disclaimer: The links below may not be a good fit for every home. Be sure to preview them first.)

~Find something to celebrate every day. Explore holidays around the world, fun facts, etc.Some ideas can be found here. http://www.familyeducation.com/fun/calendars/2016-interactive-fun-facts-calendar

~Science projects, art projects, STEM projects! (There are so many sites!)

~RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Find some online or just make up your own.

~Solvemysteries.http://kids.mysterynet.com/solveit/

~Photos – Make a book, edit pictures, or enter a photo contest. Learn new photography skills. Choose a theme and set some photography goals. (holiday decorations, favorite things in my neighborhood, my family, my favorite hobby, “me”, etc.)

Take on a Minecraft challenge WITH your kids! This book has awesome ideas. You can learn more about what they’re doing and also engage alongside them with the different activities. I love this book because it helps us meet our kids at their level.https://books.google.com/books/about/Unofficial_Minecraft_Lab_for_Kids.html?id=IWkzDAAAQBAJ&source=kp_cover&hl=en~

~Go on virtual field trips with Google Earth or other sites. This is one that I’ll need to research some sites for.

~Become globally aware. (I’m always telling my kids about current events in the world, but what if we did the research together? What if they learned about these things themselves? I wonder what kind of solutions they might come up with for humanitarian issues and needs, both worldwide and in our local community.) Here are a few sites I’m going to check out.

http://exploraworld.org/globally-aware/

http://asiasociety.org/mapping-nation/toolkit

https://www.commonsense.org/education/blog/3-creative-ways-to-teach-global-awareness

~Produce and edit stop motion videos and family movies. (iMovie, Voki, Animato, etc.)

~Make a family blog.

~Learn to type (on a real keyboard).

~Recipe search and learn to cook.

~For kids who like to write or create: Use photos or silly prompts to write short stories. Exchange the stories with friends, kids in the neighborhood, or by email. Everyone can add to them. Or, instead of writing, do this with a drawing or art project.

~Learn a new skill, or improve one that interests you. (Typography, fitness, drawing, painting, instruments, etc. When filtered, videos on youtube can be amazing for DIY learning.)

~There are some more greateducational ideas on these sites.

http://www.educationworld.com/a_tech/tech/tech146.shtml

https://sites.google.com/site/anchortechnologytomorrow/50-more-ways

~Other interesting sites to explore for projects:

https://iearn.org/cc/space-2

http://www.gamesforchange.org/play/

http://www.instructables.com(They have online classes too.)

https://makezine.com