As a parent of two preteens who don't yet use Social Networks, it's easy for me to be relaxed about the MySpace phenomenon. With that said, I'm also a student of the mind and existential/developmental issues and I believe I have a pretty good sense of what happens in children's developing minds. I'll start with a few questions which I'll phrase differently for two distinct constituencies.First, a statement of fact:
Modern brain imaging (fMRI) has shown that only a small percentage of the brain (less than 40%) is devoted to language, abstract reasoning, or participates in (aware) "consciousness".Next an attempt at consensus:
I believe most of us accept the reality that the liver filters the blood, the intestines digest food, and most the organs participate in keeping the acid/alkaline concentration in stable balance WITHOUT any conscious attention to these processes.Now, I have a question
....For the religious folks:
Do you believe that God created the other 60% of the brain for a purpose, or just as a counterweight??For the atheists:
Do you believe that humans survived and evolved to such a great state (prior to the neo-cortex, language and abstract thinking) without the rest of the brain performing some vital management tasks to aid in survival??Bringing it all together:
I'm guessing that most of us, despite your philosophical perspective, can agree that the "unseen" (by consciousness--60%) parts of the brain are probably working very hard on something
Who thinks this "something"
is probably related to survival potential?? Child researchers have known for years that life factors (health, relationships, income, intelligence, etc) are affected by the child's developing perspectives toward:
- Self Worth
Albert Einstein famously said that "god does not roll dice".............. and yet 100 million kids have joined Social Networks (SOCNETS) in the past 24 months. What are they doing there---is it a random "cool" choice thing, or are some deeper processes motivating them to spend their time on MySpace?
Is it sex, drugs, music, morbid curiosity, boredom??? (the naughty list) Probably yes, in varying degrees per child, to all of the above...........but those are all (at least) semi-conscious urges.......
What processes or strategies
do we think the other 60% of the brain is exercising through the online experience???
If you're convinced it's all about the "naughty list", then go ahead and ban your child from SOCNETS. I hope you'll report how it goes to all of us. I, for one, am doubtful that it will serve your child or your understanding of yourself. Instead, I believe it wise to look deeper into what needs are being met, and to be proactive in meeting them
. Here is my list of suggestions:
A teens wall, or SOCNET profile, is an expression of creativity, passion and uniqueness
(rather than reject) your child's unique qualities and characteristics. Of course your own judgments might get in the way...
A profile is pubic----it allows your child to feel seen, visible and deserving
of attention---see them, notice them, act
(don't speak) that they are more than a name, a list of chores, or an inconvenience
A social network is an experience (more than symbolic) of connectedness, friendship, acceptance and comradeship
----judgment and self absorption leave your child feeling alone in the world. And kids feel empty observing the model that career is all life is about. They watch the isolation, and distance (or fighting) between parents, and loose hope for a feeling like this:Be with them in simple loving presence---arising from innocence and openness
The size of ones friend list is a measure of importance, worth and desirability
---------relish your children; lust for time with them; mourn your hours away from them, let them know that you see and enjoy their brilliance
If you do these things, you just might find that your child no longer needs MySpace---and you just might grow a bit yourself. After all, you have to know how to give yourself these gifts before you can give them well to your kids--and perhaps that, above all, is why we judge the backward way that some people go about meeting existential needs
If you understand that your kids are meeting crucial developmental needs in most everything they do, and you'd like to help them do so on SocNets with more privacy or discretion, I've invented Minggl
!AddMe - Search Engine Optimization
Labels: myspace kids mind unconscious development