Competing with our children’s digital world can be a challenge, especially when you would like them to experience the environment and the many ways they can sustain it. It’s hard enough to get them to look up from their device but when they are taking selfies, this might be the right time to capture their attention. With the ‘selfie boom’ in full swing (the word was added to the Oxford Dictionary in 2013), what more reason to entice your child to take as many as possible while camping, recycling, hiking, composting, fishing and basically enjoying all nature has to offer.
It’s easy to shun the onslaught of technology that seems to have turned our society into the ‘heads down tribe.’ Gone are the days when children would hop on their bikes early Saturday morning and not be seen until lunch and then again at dinner. Now it’s all about expensive digital devices to entertain, communicate and solve everyday challenges.
However, when you step back from such electronic confusion there may very well be rare opportunities to be had. Embracing technology rather than pushing it away could allow you to show your child how our environment is faring through it all. Using a wide variety of available tools, online and off, you may be able to incorporate tips and advice to teach your kid how important environmentalism really is.
The Selfie and You
Believe it or not selfies have been around for a long time. The first one was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photographer named Robert Cornelius. Then, about 166 years later, MySpace became the first platform popularly used for displaying selfies. Finally, in 2010 Apple rolled out the iPhone 4 with a front facing camera and people have been mugging into the lens ever since.
Maybe you have no interest in photographing yourself, or tried stepping into the selfie craze with little excitement--or maybe you do it all the time--but the cold hard fact is that selfies are here to stay and today’s kids are at the top of the selfie food chain. Therefore, it may be time to explore selfies as a way to connect or reconnect with your digitally savvy child.
An Environmental Connection
If you watch the news you will most likely be bombarded with a slew of negative, depressing stories involving almost everything including the environment. Yet, some things are improving throughout our planet. The ozone layer has a better outlook; electric carmaker Tesla has announced a new factory in Nevada offering jobs and a future of clean energy infrastructure change; and more corporations are bringing green choices to demanding consumers.
So by using your available digital tools to embrace this positive change it can be an excellent way to bring your child on board. Facebook (48% of selfies are reported to be shared here), Twitter, Instagram and a laundry list of other social media and/or photo sharing and storing sites offer a variety of ways to lure your child into your love for the environment.
Tune In and Turn On
If you aren’t on any social media (or the like) platforms chances are you are continually spiraling further away from an extremely important part of your child’s world. Whether they are plugged in to the gills, roll on one device or do not have any home digital connection whatsoever it is nearly impossible for them to ignore what’s out there.
Practically every aspect of electronic communication will inevitably demand their attention, either in the home or outside the home such as school, friends, gaming, extracurricular activities, commerce and eventually their career. By joining social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and getting their permission to friend, follow or be followed by them has the potential for a whole new relationship to emerge. Add in the sharing of selfies and the environment and it could be a real win-win.
Post the Most
Once you get yourself plugged in alongside your kid then the real fun will begin. Rather than hear them grumble that you want to go on another hike or volunteer for a highway cleanup, present it as a selfie opportunity and encourage them to bring their device.
Take a bunch of selfies alone and especially with them for posting. You can navigate how selfies become a major part of your environmental passion which will hopefully spark a similar love in your child.
Get clever and find ways to share selfies with each other and the world, if you’re so inclined. Take NASA for instance: back in April of 2014 the space organization celebrated Earth Day with a ‘Global Selfie Event’. Check out your favorite environmentalist organizations and see if they too accept selfie posts. Before long your kid will hopefully look forward to your excursions as well as all to be seen and commented on afterward.
As long as your child is safe, selfies can be a positive bonding experience. Making the selfie a positive thing will show your child that you are not only with the times but interested in something that makes them happy.
-Amy Williams is a freelance writer and mother of two in Southern California. She hopes to use her experience as a mother to help other parents understand their teens.