This is where thoughts become things.

Hi, I'm Daniela. Welcome to my personal lair on the Internet. This is where I write about storytelling, activism, technology and pop culture. Sometimes I post videos. I update my lair when the mood strikes me. Follow me on Twitter for daily updates (@dcap).

Tag : parenting

Brain Leaks: Parenthood On Facebook — Pt 2 — Social Gaming Consequences

A recent headline inspired me to take a weeklong Facebook Detox, starting today: A northern Colorado woman who was playing a game on Facebook while her 13-month-old drowned in a bathtub was sentenced Friday to 10 years in prison. Shannon Johnson, 34, was so consumed by that day’s session of Café World that she didn’t think twice about leaving her baby alone in a tub full of water.

AP reports that Johnson put her son in the tub for his bath a little after 8:30 a.m. on Sept. 20. She then left him unsupervised as she went to another room to share videos, check status updates and play Café World on Facebook.

So while her child drowned, Johnson was enjoying the psychological rewards of being in charge of her own virtual restaurant, making her way to the top of Zynga‘s fake culinary world.

Zynga, the creator of FarmVille and a lot of other social games, has a talent for ripping off products from other companies and creating their own addictive Facebook games that are particularly popular with mothers.

Let me just preface the rest of this post by saying that I’m not into slippery slope talk. Obviously, not every parent who enjoys social gaming on Facebook is going to make the same negligent mistake that Johnson did. However, I’m bringing this up anyway to raise a concern that I have about how social gaming impacts family life and the gamer’s view of his/her own abilities.

There are many studies being released these days about the cognitive benefits of gaming. Quest 2 Learn, a digital school in NYC, uses gaming as part of their curriculum. So clearly, gaming isn’t the enemy. Games didn’t kill little Joseph. Negligence did. Before gaming hit the mainstream, parents went to jail for accidents that happened while they watched TV. Today, it’s happening all over the world because of gaming addictions. Same problem — different platform. (more…)

Brain Leaks: Parenthood On Facebook — Pt 1 — Free Therapy

I bet you $10 that today you saw a “cute baby” photo or a parenting-related status update on your Facebook News Feed wall. Maybe your old friend from High School was posing with her newborn in the hospital, or her status update revealed her interest in cloth diapers.

Parents these days think nothing of sharing the most intimate details from their home life with their wide network of friends. Estranged pals who haven’t seen each other in years will know what each other’s kids had for breakfast this morning. And we’re all OK with that; it feels totally normal, doesn’t it?

This post isn’t about privacy — if you’re not familiar with your Facebook privacy settings by now, God help you. No, this post is about being on Facebook and being a parent. The question I’m presenting isn’t if one is affecting the other — they most definitely are. My question is, beyond the statistics, how is Facebook tangibly changing parent behavior and why?

Over the next few days, I’ll be releasing a series of posts on the ways that the construct of Parenthood is being affected by living life on Facebook.

1. Misery Loves Company: Free “Bebe’s Kids” Therapy

Don’t front — sometimes your little one acts like an obnoxious hellion. Thirty years ago, mothers didn’t have a place to vent where they could receive instant feedback and support, wherever they happened to be. They had to suck it up and take lots of valium.

True, they could meet up with friends for lunch or call someone, but sometimes (especially in today’s uber-connected world) you DON’T WANT physical human interaction to get through a bad head space. You want validation & empathy, yes — having to actually go meet someone, no. Unlike the oppressed/Internet-lacking moms of yesteryear, today’s parents can go to Facebook for all the unlicensed counseling they could ever want.

Facebook gives you free reign to spill any grievance, anytime, and then check back later for any kind words or “Likes.”

Facebook as free therapy in the battle of the (very much loved) brats seems to be a crucial tool in many a parent’s arsenal. (more…)