Discover more from Mentoring Kids in a Connected World with Devorah Heitner
She could have been a meme
And that might not have been so fun
I hope you're enjoying the last few "official" days of summer! I'm looking forward to the 3-day holiday weekend here before the flurry of activity hits surrounding the Growing Up In Public book launch on September 12. I'm really excited to hit the road and see many of you in person!
Something that's been on my mind lately is a conversation I had with therapist Stephanie Zerwas while doing research for the book. Stephanie talked to me about the negative impact of watching mean-spirited videos that have gone viral—such as the one of a woman falling into a fountain at the mall—can have on kids. While kids may find these videos funny/entertaining on the surface, the videos also tap into their darkest fears... that the world is a nasty place, and that there are eyes everywhere, waiting to catch you picking your nose, falling into a fountain, or pulling your car up to a gas station the wrong way.
The idea that they can be caught unwittingly saying or doing something clumsy or embarrassing and that their misstep can live forever in perpetuity in the form of a video or photo that will be shared widely can be hugely stressful for teens and tweens.
When we were in sixth grade, my friend was a star in the play. She was running a fever and feeling really sick the day of the play, but insisted she wanted to go on. To everyone’s horror, after she said her first line, she fainted and fell off the small stage in our cafeteria. She ended up being fine, but she sure was embarrassed that an entire auditorium full of people saw her pass out and fall off the stage. I can only imagine how that could affect her now if someone had posted that online.
It could have been a meme. Would she have embraced it like “Side-Eyeing Chloe,” whose YouTuber mother made her famous at age two? In a video she made with her mom at age eleven, she said she sometimes forgets that she “is her meme”— “I’m really famous,” she laughs in the video. She has over half a million Instagram followers. How will Side-Eyeing Chloe feel when she’s twenty- five? Will she put it in her Tinder profile or job applications?
I'd love to hear your thoughts...How do your kids feel about living in a world where going viral feels like a real possibility?
I could not be more excited for my conversation with the brilliant and insightful Jessica Lahey, author of the NYT Bestseller, Gift of Failure, as well as the Addiction Inoculation.
Preorder to get invited to the invite-only live webinar where Jess and I talk about kids growing up on social media, sharenting, the book writing process and talking to teenagers, and EVERYTHING.
I’m so honored that reviews are starting to come in and I’m pinching myself that after five years of research and writing, people are reading the book and saying really lovely things. CHICAGO TRIBUNE wrote: Devorah Heitner’s fantastic new book, “Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World,” begins with a clear-eyed message for those of us raising or shaping young people in this moment.
KCRA3 'TV: 'Growing up in public' (see the interview here)
Yes, I geeked out seeing the big slide of my book behind the anchor! Fun times :)
PS: Why not just get the book AFTER it comes out? Here’s the deal: Right now, bookstores are deciding how to use their coveted fall shelf space and publications are deciding if they should cover that book by the author with the weird-sounding name or publish another click-bait article on how scary and bad social media is. Help them out by “voting” for the nuanced view. Social media and our kids are more complicated than a click-bait headline. Preorders let bookstores, publishers, and publications know that this is important to YOU. #steppingoffmysoapbox 😉