This story illustrates the irresistible force of the combined power of the internet, cute kids and puppies. Two little girls want a puppy, so their dad says, “sure if you get a million likes on facebook.” One million clicks later, the family is scoping out shelters for a new dog.
Pardon me while I put on my curmudgeon pants, but this bit bothered me.
“’I really don’t know how it moved so quickly,’ Evie Cordell said. ‘We thought it’d top out at maybe 2,000 people.’
That low expectation is exactly why the Cordells, who live outside Boston, agreed to the proposal put forward by their daughters, Cadence, 12, and Emerson, 9…”
Call me old fashioned, but pets are huge commitments, and you should get a dog because you A.) Want a dog and B.) Are reasonable sure you have the time, commitment and means to care for one. (I say this as an owner of two cats and one dog.) So either they were trying to set their kids up to fail, or … they really wanted one million people to know they were getting a dog?
I’m concerned that the parents didn’t really want to get a dog, but rather than say “No” (perish the thought!), they set up what they thought was an impossible bar. That doesn’t strike me as a wise parenting decision. Of course, it will probably end up all wonderfully with daily family walks and Saturday afternoons at the dog park. Who knows?
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I also thought of this excellent post by Jon Acuff on why his daughters will not be using social media anytime soon. Sometimes it seems like we live under a constant barrage of people yelling, “Notice me, like me, follow me!” Should that really start at 12 and 9? Isn’t adolescence hard enough without worrying about presenting yourself in such a manner that attracts the most attention from complete strangers? How early is too early to start “selling yourself?” Nine seems early.
I’m becoming more and more ambivalent about social media and my constant connectedness. I blog; I use facebook and twitter. I do try to be careful about what I post about the people in my life, especially my children. My decision to share parts of my life with complete strangers is just that: my decision and my life–not theirs. When they are old enough, they’ll make those decisions for themselves. I also have a rule that I try not to expose my loved one’s weaknesses to others (Love covers a multitude of sins.) Sure we have our sins and struggles, but frankly it’s none ya’, as my daddy would say.
Most people would say the puppy dog/facebook/little kid nuclear bomb of cute story is just that: a cute story. Like I said, I’m sure it will work out fine. Hopefully.
Man, these curmudgeon pants are really comfortable.