The Bledsoe Firm - October 2019

The Bledsoe Firm JustFamilyLaw.com | 949.363.5551 october | 2019

B reaking A way F rom the ‘T oxic P erfectionism ’ of S ocial M edia

Collin Kartchner is fighting back against “toxic perfectionism” and the dark side of online social media. Last month, I focused on the negative influence of social media and the idea that many people, especially kids, are affected by social media comparison. This is when kids (and adults) compare their lives to people they follow on social media. Through websites and apps like Facebook and Instagram, people showcase their “perfect” lives. These people rack up followers and have to work hard to cultivate the ideal image. The problem is many young people see this and incorrectly assume this person is, in fact, living a perfect life. That’s what I mean when I use the term toxic perfectionism. A lot of people nowadays are creating the illusion that they are living grand and wonderful lives. It’s fake, but many Instagram celebrities successfully pass it off as real. Of course, the problems of social media go far beyond toxic perfectionism. There’s also a huge problem with cyberbullying as well as cyberstalking. Mixed in with these harmful issues is the time that’s wasted constantly checking for updates or just scrolling endlessly through posts. After all, the developers behind the Facebook and Instagram apps, for example, have designed these platforms to be addicting. They want people to stay on the apps for as long as possible so they can sell more ads. As I mentioned last month, Collin created a hashtag called #SaveTheKids and a website at SaveTheKids.us. This site serves as a resource for parents, educators, and even kids so they can better understand the issues surrounding social media usage.

project is still very new, but his concept has people talking. The idea is all about helping kids stay connected without the downsides that come with social media and constant internet access.

Gabb Wireless (GabbWireless.com) offers a phone and a phone plan. But unlike most phones on the market today, this one cannot be used to download additional apps. It goes back

to basics while still utilizing updated technology. In short, the phone cannot access the internet, doesn’t have games, cannot access any social media, and cannot send picture messages. The phone only allows users to make calls and texts, along with standard features like a calendar, an alarm, a calculator, and a camera. It’s been designed for kids ages 8–14 in mind, people of nearly any age can use and enjoy it. Plus, Gabb Wireless comes with an unlimited talk and text plan. Again, this project is still getting off the ground and has limited availability, but it’s something worth looking at — especially as more parents want their kids to have a phone to keep in touch when they’re not at home. Not only is this phone simplified, it’s a great way to limit kids’ time online and on social media. Of course, it’s still up to the parents to help monitor screen time at home when kids may have access to the family computer, their own computer, the TV, and so on. But now parents can have some control of media use even when their kids are away. Will this phone (or using less-advanced phones in general) protect kids from toxic perfectionism and cyberbullying? Not 100%, no. But it can make a huge difference. When kids don’t have constant access to social media, the internet, and games, they spend much less time less time staring at a small screen and more time interacting with others in person or enjoying nature. This, I think we can all agree, is a good thing, and every little bit helps.

Stay tuned for next month’s newsletter as we dive into the third part of this look into #SaveTheKids and the negative impact of social media.

—John Bledsoe

In addition to this resource, Collin also helped spearhead a project called Gabb Wireless. The

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