Social media exploits two vulnerable parts of our psyche. First, the fear of missing out. That’s why we check it so much. Did somebody say something? What happened? Is there a new viral video? Who are we supposed to be mad at today? The second is our need to be seen and heard and validated. That’s what Facebook and Twitter ask you on their homepage: What’s going on? What’s on your mind? What do you have to share? What’s special about you?
And then the brilliant programmers on these networks have discovered how to reward this addictive impulse with likes and comments and follower counts. They turned our greatest vulnerabilities into a game.
That’s what dads should be worried about. When you’re feeling insecure and want to be validated, resist the urge to just post more photos of your kid. Because it’s gross. Don’t turn your kids and the precious experiences you have with them into food for this insatiable maw.
At least the celebrities who do it—who use cute kid photos and other forms of oversharing about their family—are being paid (indirectly or directly). But us normal folks? We’re being used and we’re being users.