Authenticity, Connectedness and Social Media

Over the weekend I came across an Instagram post by Where Women Create asking, what it means to be authentic in the context of social media.  In the post the author raises questions that I continue to grapple with.

  • “What if, in our quest for authentic we’ve developed dual lives, dual personas, and a total inability to be authentic?”
  • “What if this digital self that we present isn’t our best self, or more importantly isn’t our true self?”
  • “Is the damage we do to or core being worth the endless quest for digital fame and digital perfection?”
Surrounded by technology

I’m an Instagram newbie.  In 2016, I started a personal account that I rarely used and it wasn’t until this January (2018) that I started using Instagram more regularly and opened an @guidedlearning account.  To be perfectly honest, I had to take a class on to learn how to use Instagram  (wow, I feel my age).  I created the @guidedlearing account to share how my family uses our creative learning space and to show the kinds of learning activities we do.  I focus on sharing the learning that happens in my home whether it relates to my children or the students I tutor.

Instagram photo I shared showing how a learner uses letter tiles.

The questions posed by @WhereWomenCreate got me thinking about the differences between capturing real moments of learning versus posting staged photos of the learning materials used.  I also wonder about the differences between personal accounts and those of artists, educators, and small business owners who use social media to showcase their work and to build connections. To what extent are we are we developing dual personas? What about the role of perfectionism and digital perfection? After all, much of social media is visually based and pretty pics gain lots of likes.

Staged materials used in a pre-algebra lesson.

As a parent, I worry about my children’s development in these days of constant connectedness and widely used social media.  How do you develop an authentic self when their is always the possibility of moments being captured and posted.  Are today’s kids developing dual personas?  Are we invading children’s privacy by posting their every move and their developmental and lifetime milestones?  I worry about teens developing the need to look perfect, making comparisons, and developing a negative self-image.

What can we do to help our kids navigate the role social media plays in their lives?

In the recent issue of Teaching for High Potential (May 2018). The author, Kevin D. Besnoy, of “Defining Roles of Social Media”, suggests having discussions with our kids about technology and social media use.  He recommends watching the following YouTube videos and discuss what how it feels to be constantly connected as well as the benefits and negatives.

Here’s a video on PBS with teens explaining how they use social media.  It is funny to hear their views of Facebook.


After mulling these questions over during the weekend and talking about them with a friend, I know there are no easy answers about the use of technology or whether the benefits outweigh the negatives.   I think the key is simply to make a point to disconnect from our phones and computers and to connect with each other.  We have to make an effort to spend time together doing activities we enjoy and leave our phone behind or turn it off.

I also want be more thoughtful about what I post and how I engage with others on social media.  It think it’s important to be mindful about the purpose behind sharing the moments we capture.

What are your thoughts?

Do you take time to disconnect?

Do you set limits on how much screen time you allow your children?

Do you make them turn off their phones at night?








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Maria Arana

Hi, I am Maria, a mom to three wonderful kiddos. My family and I live in Phoenix, Arizona. We love the beauty of the desert southwest. I am a former primary teacher and elementary math coach. I love to encourage my children to follow their interests and passions. At Guided Learning Studio, I offer private personalized lessons and enrichment classes. Tutoring services are best for families seeking long-term educational support over a semester or school-year.

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