Dealing with a parent’s social media addiction
Times have changed drastically. It was just the other day when your mother threatened to beat you with her sandals if you didn't get off that stupid phone of yours. Yet today, she watches videos on her phone so loudly, you have to tell her to keep it down. In the words of the legendary Michael Scott, "Well, well, well, how the turntables."
Parents have always had a knack for overindulgence, and thanks to the availability of smartphones, they've turned away from Sultan Suleiman and headed towards social media. Jokes aside, sometimes just like us, our parents can spend an unhealthy amount of time on the internet, prompting us to play the parent card. So, what can we do to help our parents spend less time on their devices?
Lead by example
Again, how the turntables. When we were younger, we used to take after our parents' habits. Similarly, as most of our parents are still learning how to navigate social media, it's no surprise that they mirror our approach when it comes to technology. So, it's best to make a conscious effort to curb your social media addiction first. And hopefully, your parents will follow suit.
Spend more time with your parents
The impact that technology has on the time we spend with our parents is very underscored. We might not realise it but before the days of doom scrolling, our daily lives revolved, at least to some extent, around our parents. Even though it's not feasible to spend all day with them, we could try to devote more time to them instead of shielding ourselves away. Making conversations, going out on walks, or planning to dine outside are great places to start. They surely wouldn't refuse to spend some time with us.
Explain the impact that social media has on them
Chances are, your parents have not grasped how their social media usage is changing their behaviour and potentially affecting your life in the process. For instance, if your mother picks up a habit of video calling her sisters three times a day, try to calmly explain to her why and how this trait isn't healthy. Likewise, explain to your dad how all the bizarre and negative political clickbait he reads on Whatsapp text chains is making him more cynical. For the most part, it is stressing everyone out. They can only attempt to break their habits, once they realise the impact it has on them.
Encourage them to pick up new hobbies
More often than not, our parent's social media practices can reveal many of the interests that they never picked up. For example, if they watch knitting and sewing videos, encourage them to actively pursue it. Just make sure they don't stumble upon 5-minute crafts.
It's important that we treat our parents with dignity and respect when explaining the problems with their social media usage. After all, they raised us and deserve nothing less from us in return.
Turns out Taaseen Mohammed Islam can write semi-decently at the expense of being able to do basic math. Send him pointers at [email protected]