Do Moms Really Have a Problem With Social Media?

Do Moms Really Have a Problem with social media

I sometimes wonder if this picture is how my children will remember me: my back to them, staring at the computer screen, saying, “Just a minute” for the fifth time in a row.

Is my love for everything internet causing me to neglect my children? I was so disturbed by this idea that after reading Not Now Darling, Mummy’s Tweeting, I was ready to unplug and exchange my smart phone for a dumb one. The article suggested that ignoring your kids in favor of a screen damaged their self-esteem.

How many times had I done that? I was clearly neglecting my children and I was overcome with guilt. My knee-jerk reaction was to follow Jesus’ directive in Matthew 5:30:

And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away.

Social media was causing me to stumble, no question. If I wasn’t reading, connecting, and blogging online, I reasoned, I would be a much better mother. I imagined what I could do with and for my family with the time reclaimed from online pursuits.

I would just cut it off. When I found the report of a guy who went offline for a year, I couldn’t wait to hear what a difference it had made for him. Even though he was single with no children, I knew he could be a mentor for me of sorts. If Paul could do it, so could I!

But while Paul at first noticed many positive results of going offline, they weren’t long-lasting:

By late 2012, I’d learned how to make a new style of wrong choices off the internet. I abandoned my positive offline habits, and discovered new offline vices.

As I reflected on his experience, I realized that social media wasn’t making me a bad mother just as food couldn’t make someone unclean (Matthew 15:11). In fact, I had ignored my children for the sake of many things that didn’t involve the internet! Blaming social media for my parental neglect was like blaming the refrigerator for weight gain. The problem seemed to be my own selfishness.

The solution was to spend more time focused on my kids. Wasn’t it? I began thinking about my childhood. My mother didn’t have social media, but she was very social. I recall being shooed away repeatedly when she was visiting. While I never liked it, I am none the worse for it, because I learned that I wasn’t the center of the universe. If my mom had read an article about how her socializing was parental neglect, she wouldn’t have given it a second thought. Moms needed time away from children’s demands, period.

Do moms really have a problem with social media? I only know that parents can neglect their children with or without it. And what constitutes neglect is hard to define. Schedules or time limits and being open to my husband’s and the Holy Spirit’s leading on the issue are how I choose to cope.

What do you think?


16 Responses to Do Moms Really Have a Problem With Social Media?
  1. Daphne Tarango
    May 30, 2013 | 7:42 am

    This is so convicting, Melanie. Just this morning, I told my seven-year-old son to give me a few minutes while I was on Facebook.

    The visual of the back of the head is extremely powerful.

    It’s not necessarily social media, as you said, but more like selfishness. Yes, I need my time–and boy, do I ever–but they need time too. It’s not about making them the center of the universe, but following the Holy Spirit’s nudging when it’s time to stop being so social. And my husband’s nudge too. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing this.


    P.S. – Sharing. 🙂

    • Melanie Wilson
      May 30, 2013 | 8:28 pm

      I’m thankful you took the time to be social and share your thoughts on the issue, Daphne. It’s helpful to me! I really appreciate you sharing it, too, and allowing other women to reflect on this issue.

  2. Sara K.
    May 30, 2013 | 8:30 am

    This is a difficult topic — a rather gray area, if you ask me! I, too, have struggled with the pull toward the internet — and as I analyze it, I use the internet largely as an escape mechanism. Yes, I sheepishly confess, an escape from the challenges of raising active boys. On many hard days, I recognize that I essentially “check out” of parenting and let my kids watch videos, just to keep them from fighting, while I zone-out on email, news headlines, and blogs. (I’m actually not on Facebook, as I am all too aware of my tendency toward obsession!) And I hate that I do this.

    Last August, I went so far as to go off-line for the whole month… or maybe it was three weeks… and it was amazing how much clearer my thinking was, how much less irritable I was with my boys, how much more I read from the stack of good books next to my bed! Yet, as I considered whether being without the internet *forever* would be feasible (hah!) — I also thought about what moms did before the internet: the TV and the phone. Or visiting in person. We can find plentiful ways to distract ourselves — with or without the internet — if we are looking hard enough. But I also agree, particularly as a homemaker, that it is healthy and good for moms to be in connection with others! (The word that comes to mind is balance.)

    So I agree with your conclusion — that it really comes down to each one of us… seeking the Lord for direction and the self-control to follow His leading, and then making the hard choices (however that looks to each person). God, please inspire us with Your wisdom and Your strength to put it into practice!

    • Melanie Wilson
      May 30, 2013 | 8:27 pm

      I’m adding my prayers to yours, Sara: Help us, Lord! It’s probably good that it’s a gray area so we do seek the Lord, rather than our own ideas on this issue. Thanks so much for sharing your experiences. I really benefit from reading how other moms feel about the topic.

  3. Missy
    May 30, 2013 | 9:00 am

    Melanie – I think you hit the nail on the head when you compared overeating with blaming the refrigerator. I know, for myself, that it’s that selfishness that rears its ugly head, that keeps me from being “present” with my family. Acknowledging that, and then taking planned steps (and lots of prayer for redirection and focus) help. So do, sometimes, reading a post like this to remind me to refocus once in a while. This was a great post!

    • Melanie Wilson
      May 30, 2013 | 9:18 am

      Thanks, Missy. I’m glad it was helpful. I think you’re right that we need those reminders. I am uncomfortable with this post because I don’t give an answer to the question. But I think that’s OK. I don’t have the answer. We each have to follow the Lord’s leading. I really appreciate your comment. God bless you and your family!

  4. Emily Cook (
    May 30, 2013 | 12:12 pm

    This is a great, balanced approach to the issue. Absolutely. I see the internet as something that likes to grab on to my intrinsic selfishness and suck me in… but if I shut the internet off, something else does that. It’s the selfishness that needs to die, and thank God, He is working on this every day!

    here are a few of my thoughts on this struggle and some of the boundaries I have tried to put around technology, for their sakes!

    And screen-free week. (not for our whole lives.. but a week, well, that was good for us.)

    • Melanie Wilson
      May 30, 2013 | 8:25 pm

      I am going to check out your links, Emily. I do like the idea of a screen-free week. Now let’s see if I can get my husband on board! Like you, I thank God that He is working on me. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and experience.

      • Emily Cook
        May 30, 2013 | 8:43 pm

        Honestly, my husband wasn’t nuts about the idea. I didn’t really make him commit either when I did screen free week.

        I draped a sheet over the tv (with a face on it) for the week, but when kids were in bed, for hubby’s sake, I did take it down if he wanted me to! I could have been more legalistic about it, and at first I did think it was more of his problem than mine, but … well, the cutting out we did do was enough to change my thinking on that!

        • Melanie Wilson
          June 1, 2013 | 10:22 pm

          I love the face on the sheet idea! And that’s wonderful that after the kids were in bed, your husband had the option of having screen time. Thanks for more inspiration. 🙂

  5. Emily Cook
    May 30, 2013 | 8:45 pm

    This is from another article I found very intersting… (see link at the bottom) about a man who unplugged for a whole year…

    Do you plan on using the Internet differently now that you’re back?

    I want to prioritize family and friends, and productivity and learning, over just generally consuming and being entertained. And that takes work because the Internet is so happy to entertain you. I want to find a way to use the Internet in that way, but unfortunately I’m really out of practice, so I kind of have to learn it from scratch. I don’t think I got better at using the Internet by not using it.

    • Melanie Wilson
      June 1, 2013 | 10:23 pm

      That was the article I linked to. Definitely helped give me a more balanced perspective!

  6. Cathy Mullins
    May 30, 2013 | 10:42 pm

    The older I get, the more I realize that the operative word is “balance”. Great article, Melanie!

    Did I miss you at the picnic today? Thought I saw one of your boys. It was so crowded and God blessed us by holding off the storms!!!!

    • Melanie Wilson
      June 1, 2013 | 10:24 pm

      Amen, Cathy. 🙂 I saw you and even patted you on the shoulder as I moved past you. lol I think we were both busy chatting! Please email and let me know how you are. Thanks so much for your encouraging comment.

  7. charis
    June 5, 2013 | 6:34 pm

    this is excellent. i agree – sometimes i am just wasting time, sometimes it is a valuable tool. i need to check my heart – sometimes i can feel a check from the Holy Spirit and i just close the laptop. thankfully, we don’t have a tv as a temptation. thanks for the honest and balanced approach to this topic.

  8. Melanie Kissell
    June 10, 2013 | 3:39 pm

    Very lively conversation here, Melanie, with loads of great commentary on this worthwhile topic!

    In lieu of rambling on (which I’m oftentimes guilty of), allow me to sum up my perspective, briefly, by saying I strive for a “happy medium”.

    I do my level best to be internet-free for the majority of my Sundays and sometimes on Saturdays, too, when I’m knocking out household chores, doing grocery shopping, etc.

    I’m a gal who tends to look at the brighter side of life by carrying a positive outlook in my front pocket. I spend a lot of time online but you know what? I can’t recall the last time I turned on the television! It’s been at least six or seven months now. I think it’s good for your children to see you doing something productive online versus watching soap operas, if you know what I mean. 😉

    Also, my children are all adults now but when they were growing up, computers were an integral part of their lives … from kindergarten on! All four of them attended computer classes every day in school. We live in an era of technology and that’s not going to change anytime soon.

    To me, mothering means being open-minded, flexible, and working hard to shed ourselves of that nasty feeling called GUILT!