I have a problem. I unintentionally do it every day, and I don’t even know why I do. It starts out very simple. When I sit down at my computer for work in the morning, I check my email. I check my Twitter handle. And then, I check Facebook. I appropriately like friends’ posted pictures. Send along birthday wishes. See what people have been up to. And, since this is how I get my news, I have “liked” many news organizations from local TV and papers to People.com and everywhere in between. So mixed in among Facebook posts are news feeds. So far, it sounds ordinary right? But in the case of my Facebook feed, the algorithms have won.
My news feed is littered with news stories about children. That seems obvious since I am a mom, but it is not the kind of stories that I would prefer. Instead, the stories are not happy stories, but about tragedy. Story after story is about horrible things happening around the world and in our backyard. They are stories of terrible parenting or freak accidents. They tell the stories of lives lost, limbs lost, terrible sickness, abuse, neglect and court sentences. I am like a fly and a bug zapper, because somehow, I can’t help but to click it. It is like watching the train wreck; there is something about it that I can’t stop myself. I have to know what occurred in the story.
I rationalize this terrible habit by telling myself I need to know what is happening out there so I am a more informed parent. But it doesn’t matter what the story is, it all ends in the same situation. My heart is breaking for some kid somewhere. Many times, I am in tears over the terrible circumstances. I think about that child or family through the day and it haunts me. But I continue to do it to myself. I click it. every. time.
Yes, with more technology, there are more stories like this that are surfacing, and through the internet, we see more of them. But Facebook is smart enough to feed me more of these terrible stories based on what I am clicking. Just like the picture of the shoes that I didn’t buy on Zappos keeps showing up on the right side advertising column. Facebook knows. Facebook is watching.
After scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and seeing the lineup of terribly depressing stories, I told myself that is enough. I can’t take it anymore. My heart can’t take it anymore. I know these stories are happening around the world every day, but I am tagging out.
So enough is enough.
I am putting my head in the sand or entering my own bubble, if you will, and that’s fine with me. Hearing all of these horror stories is not helping me in anyway. Instead, it is giving me anxiety and nightmares. I just don’t want to see any more bad stories about awful things happening to little kids. Done.
I have had an intervention with myself. So I hope that by mindfully avoiding and not clicking on anything like that, Facebook will take note. I want to change the course of my own Facebook algorithms of what comes up in my news feeds. I want to see more happy and less of the bad things that are happening out there. I want to see more of smiling faces behind birthday cakes and fewer mug shots.
I am putting the negativity behind me and moving forward with more positive news stories. So I will stop clicking, and Facebook, you stop sharing those horrific stories. On to clicking on more happy stories!