Can Social Media Bring Families Together

Can social media bring families together

While many experts are advising family members to put down their smartphones and tablets to spend time with family, I’d like to suggest including social media in family time.

As media players are becoming “must have” devices, it’s common to see kids and even parents sitting in different rooms of the house connecting to some form of social media.  It is true that some people are so addicted to keeping up with social media that they spend little time in face to face conversation and interaction.

Social media doesn’t have to be known as the home wrecker

Families have a unique opportunity to help each other manage social media in a healthy way.  Just as parents manage their kids’ Internet time, families can manage and balance social media with real-time interactions.

But how do you do that when your family members are glued to their media devices? As a therapist, I learned to meet the client where they are.  Sharing things in common can quickly start up an engaging conversation. Remarkably, family members of all ages have something in common. Statistics from show people of all ages are social network users – even grandma!

Here are 6 Ideas that include social media into family time

1. Why not include the family in taking a YouTube challenge 

Dad’s took part in the Cheerio Challenge 2016 by stacking cheerios on the heads of their sleeping baby. Last year’s ice bucket challenge was a big hit. Try the “make me laugh” challenge where one person takes a sip of water and another person tries to make her/him laugh.  Or create your own YouTube challenge. Of course, moms & dads need to approve the challenge keeping safety and age appropriateness in mind.

2. Have you ever stretched the truth?

Here’s a challenge to come clean and share a “refreshingly honest moment” with your family. Share your story on @HonestTea’s Facebook or tweet it to #RefreshinglyHonest truth to win a trip to Hawaii.  This project was created as an invitation to people to be a little more truthful about being a little less truthful.  It shows us that everyone is “perfectly imperfect.”

3. Create updated family pictures (one silly and one serious) and post it on Facebook

Remember, there is a safety concern when posting pictures of children.  Sadly, pictures can be stolen and used without your permission.  Remember to take the proper precautions when posting pictures such as setting privacy controls to custom.  This will allow only your selection of family and friends to view them.

4. Get out the popcorn and have a slide show

Years ago, I remember watching slide shows of family vacations and as I grew up, I watched VCR tapes (remember them?) of home movies when the kids were little.  Today, we post these moments on FaceBook, Twitter and Instagram. Check out family and friends’ posts. It might be fun to make a family project by organizing these pictures and create a modern day slideshow. This past April, my daughter got married!  I’m still finding wedding pictures on sites from our family and friends.  I’ve gathered some of these pictures for my own photo library and I’m currently choosing the best pictures to print for a scrapbook.

5. Use Instagram to compete in a fun scavenger hunt

Create a list of items that players need to find and have them compete to photograph and upload as many as possible before meeting back in the living room. Maybe it can be themed such as finding all the faucets in the house, or how many animals can you find around your home (or neighborhood). Don’t forget to set a time limit and parameter for searching.

6. Use Twitter for this hilarious site @YouAreDogNow

Just send a pic or yourself or your family, and they will make you look like your dog twin. Share laughs with family. 

Safety first

These projects can also be a great way to start talking about the dangers of social media.  Each person in the family can take part in establishing family guidelines to keep each other safe while staying connected with friends and family.

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Jane Simmons
Counselor, LMHC
Jane is an LMHC from Florida. She attained a masters degree in Mental Health Counseling. Her goal is to help people work through emotional and cognitive challenges by forming a personal individualized plan. She specializes in complementary and alternative therapeutic techniques like mindfulness, biofeedback and hypnotherapy.

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