Janey Says: We MUST Protect Young from the Myth of Perfection

Well here we are, it’s done! January!  Hopefully, we all survived the Christmas hols with no major ‘ occurrences’  typical for the season, and everybody is on speaking terms!

Like most people I believe, my January started with the stress of not putting in place all the resolutions I had made, and the ensuing guilt because of that.

Ted has taken himself back to bed as the chances of the promised ‘ long walk first thing’ has been delayed until about 2 pm!

I would have been better had I understood that these days, the well-intentioned ‘ lists to do’ made out before bed were going to be severely delayed by the unexpected things that crop up as we grope for the light and reach for our bedroom slippers.

We’re walking WHEN???

This morning, mine was an early alert on my phone from the BBC, warning that Apple has identified major flaws in their computer chips – affecting laptops phones Macs and iPads.  This was closely followed by a text message from Apple telling me that all my details associated with my number were due to be terminated, and to prevent this I had to confirm them all ( including my bank details cards etc ) ASAP frankly!

Stress!

Before even the kettle goes on I’m worried about getting all this stuff together before I’m removed from the new world – where the hell my passwords etc were – and more importantly in the light of the good old BBC info – was it safe to provide them?

So, two hours on, and needless to say all this has delayed my ‘making a smoothie, followed by 10 mins on my yoga mat’ and as I now sit and type this all I’ve managed is two chocolate biscuits and a cup of tea!

Ted has taken himself back to bed as the chances of the promised ‘ long walk first thing’ has been delayed until about 2 pm!

I know we’re all very lucky to have this amazing technology, but the problems associated with it – particularly for the young – give me pause for thought on the cost to our well-being and safety.

I’m older and it doesn’t matter for me, but the need these kids feel to be involved in and liked on social media is scary.

Noone will see the time they helped a frail old person across the road, or took real joy in just reading to their little brother – but those memories, the real ones that don’t come with a filter and the ability to airbrush – those are what make us real, human and wonderful, just the way we are.

How their school lives can be so affected if they don’t say or do, or put up the right image with cool witty words is a surly unacceptable pressure – and the desire to learn anything is very much on the back foot when day to day life takes priority.

Similarly -I have been reading about how young people’s obsession with perfection rises by more than a third as they react to pressures of social media and ‘ unreasonable’ demands in the workplace.

They are responding to increasingly unrealistic educational and professional demands upon themselves with increased anxiety, stress and heightened rates of suicide.

Thankfully social media has made it possible for us all to talk far more openly about mental health issues.  It is thankfully freely admitted by many sufferers, some of whom with celebrity status, give it kudos and acceptability to our young that no doctor could create.

I’m delighted to witness so many ‘cool young’ willing to stand up and be counted –  because all I’m sure of is that if we don’t somehow get our kids to get to grips with the ridiculous expectations driven by social sites – we’re all going to be needing a lot of help!

What can we do in the meantime:

A perspective I find is key is reminding our young that things that seem critical right now, are unlikely to have the same sting in six months.

Being educated and sharing that education about the dangers of social media – not just predators but also helping them to remember that nothing is ever truly deleted.

Finally, I think it’s important we’re being honest with them about our own insecurities whilst helping them to see that we’re all so much more than just a ‘personal brand’ or our digital image.

Noone will see the time they helped a frail old person across the road, or took real joy in just reading to their little brother – but those memories, the real ones that don’t come with a filter and the ability to airbrush – those are what make us real, human and wonderful, just the way we are.

 

It was last year when the idea of a site for other women like me dawned – active, busy and ambitious women who just happen to be older.

Firstly it was going to be just fashion, but very quickly I realised that if I were going to write anything – then it would have to have more meaning than just that.

I decided to incorporate lifestyle and wellbeing and make the whole thing truly interactive and inclusive. I felt that with these issues covered, then there really was no end to what could be discussed and discovered – and who may benefit as a result.

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