Increasingly, young people are feeling lonely in a crowd. As my daughter starts a new school this year I discover she is no exception.
A new study alarmed many when they discovered that young people were reporting rates of loneliness at far higher rates than older adults. The same study says social media is not the culprit. Nor is it the solution whereby one can feel connected by merely clicking a few buttons.
This is a face-to-face problem and my daughter discovers it isn’t as hard to overcome as she thought.
The headlines on the dangers of social media over the last few months are enough to cause us parents to lose our minds.
To make matters worse, no one is talking us off the ledge. Instead, they are piling on. At after-school events to train parents on social media, police officers counsel parents and kids that if they post certain things they can go to jail or be registered as a sex offender. Lawyers explain that if you make one wrong move on social media, that post or picture can follow you for the rest of your life, hurting your chances of getting into a college or getting hired by your dream company.
Simply put, the advice to parents is control, limit, and stalk.
Before I build a moat around my daughter, I have one big question: Why isn’t anyone teaching me (and her) how to use social media as a tool for her power? Luckily, one expert has an easy exercise to help me do just that!
Have you ever felt you were in the movie Ground Hog Day? You know that one where Bill Murray wakes up to relive the same day over and over and over again? That was me one year ago. I wasn’t just stuck in a rut or a hamster wheel. I felt I was tediously living each day repeatedly.
So I decided to drop the ball (many balls actually) on purpose to see where failing on purpose hurt or helped. I learned quite a few things in the process of trying to attain a more whole-hearted life.
Researchers asked 1,000 American consumers to name a famous woman in tech. Only 4% could do so. And of those?…1/4 named ‘Alexa’ and ‘Siri.’
The issue might not be so much about recognition of those women who sit at the top of tech, but the more significant problem of a shortage of female leaders overall.
Forget about recalling names, what keeps me up at night is the bigger question: How can you recognize female leadership if you aren’t exposed to it? Worse, how can my daughter be one if she can’t see one?
My daughter and I talk a lot about how important it is to "use social media to become a part of something bigger than yourself rather than making yourself bigger," to quote Rachel Simmons, author of Enough As She Is.
She understands she should avoid the 'I'm an object to be admired' posts.
After seeing her friend’s Instagram post, I didn’t want to talk about using social media responsibly. I wanted to talk about body positivity. Social media can be enemy number one in helping your daughter keep a healthy self-view. Especially when it comes to her friends.
Am I the lone voice in my daughter’s ears telling her it’s okay if she doesn’t want to pursue an interest in STEM?
Out here in sunny, tech-obsessed California, girls’ leadership often equals STEM (Science. Technology. Engineering. Math). Many parents look to STEM as the singular solution to the gnarly and complex problem of getting their girls into leadership positions, and this view always seemed limiting to me.
Thankfully, two new studies run by Google show that in order to be successful in technology you don't need to be a technologist.
The Girls Leadership Book Club is, in my opinion, the go-to resource for finding empowering, age-appropriate reads for your girls. I highly recommend you join their Facebook group to get their fall 2018-2019 school year recommendations when they come out.
This list is from their recommendations for the last school year by age group. My daughter has read several on their middle school list and loved them. I’m sure you will too.
Who knows, maybe you’ll be inspired to form a book club of your own!