Tag Archives: Facebook

How to Cure the Navel-Gazing Epidemic

Narcissism is one of the biggest dangers today, especially with kids.  Parents are doing everything they can to rescue their kids from their own laziness and failures.  They hand out trophies when they lose and tell them they’re wonderful no matter what.  However, the only thing they’re doing is fostering empty self-esteem.
Many people don’t realize there’s a big difference between wanting something and deserving it.  They think, “I deserve something because I want it,” as opposed to, “I deserve something because I earned it.”  And when it comes to self-esteem, their attitude is no different.
A lot of callers come on my show saying that the reason they make bad choices is because they have low self-esteem.  However, they have it backwards: it’s because they make poor choices that they lack esteem for themselves.  Self-respect requires effort.
About six months ago, a Pakistani girl named Malala Yousafzai was shot multiple times by a Taliban gunman on the way home from school because she stood up for women’s education.  She was taken to Britain and a brilliant team of surgeons saved her life.  Her face looks a bit numb and she has a hard time talking, but she can use her arms and walk.  This girl is a hero and inspiration to us all.  Why?  Because she earned it.  She bravely took a public stand in a region where it’s very dangerous to do so.

Self-respect doesn’t just happen by virtue of being born or because you’re breathing – you have to earn it by what you do.  I can’t believe that people actually expect themselves and their children to feel respect for themselves when they haven’t earned it.
So, how can we adjust this narcissistic attitude?

It all starts with the parents.  First off, I think every parent who allows their child to have their own personal, private Facebook or Twitter account is being negligent.  It gives kids a false sense of who they are in the world, and they have only one way to go from there – down and out.  According to a brilliant essay by Dr. Keith Ablow, Facebook introduces kids to a world of fantasy which artificially makes them feel special, mature, powerful, and important.  But ultimately the bubble bursts and the fake autobiography explodes.  They end up depressed and either kill themselves or someone else.

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/08/are-raising-generation-deluded-narcissists/?test=latestnews&intcmp=features#ixzz2HV6CQ8Tm

The rule also applies to television and cell phones.  Your kids should barely watch TV and only if you pick out the programs.  They shouldn’t have a cell phone, but if they do, it should be an old-style phone that only allows them to make calls (not text!) in case of an emergency.
In addition, parents need to cease being weenies and start being leaders in their homes.  Women have to stop dumping their kids in institutionalized day care so they can go off and “esteem themselves” by working.  Furthermore, there are too many unhappy and lonely children as a result of divorced parents who are either too bored or too invested in some new guy or gal to be giving and loving.  Not only does it destroy children’s homes, but it also opens the door for pedophiles who prey on neglected, lonely kids with inattentive parents.
Let’s make fewer excuses (e.g. “We’re too busy and tired,” “All the other kids are doing it,” “You can’t control it,” etc.), and parent more.

Learning to Be Joyful

My friend, Patty, called me this morning to ask how I was feeling.  I told her, “Well, I can breathe through my nose, my Eustachian tubes are about 90 percent unclogged from my allergy stuff, I can run around, and nothing hurts – so I’m good.”  We both laughed.  We were just both so grateful for our parts still working and for the opportunities that go with that. 

Finding joy in life is not terribly difficult, but it is a learned skill.  First off, being in a state of joy is not the same thing as being happy.  Joy is more of a deep and profound type of feeling.   Secondly, joy is not innate.  You are not born with it – it’s learned.

Some of you have a tougher time acquiring this skill because you were raised in harsh or negative families.  However, it’s still possible for you to learn – it’s just harder. 

One of the first things you need to do to be joyful is to change the way you talk to yourself.  You need to take all that negative-speak going on in your mind (e.g. “I suck,”  “I’m terrible,”  “I should have never done ___”) quite seriously.  You may flippantly say, “I suck,” but you are really hurting yourself deeply on the inside.  Stop the negative self-talk, and instead, replace it with the phrase, “I could be doing ___.”  By giving yourself some leeway, you’ll have choices and flexibility.  These statements give you room to explore and not feel so bad about yourself.  Tearing yourself down is not motivating.  By saying, “I could have made another choice and the next time I will,” you’re going to provide yourself with a lot more opportunity.

Another thing you can do to experience more joy is to have at least one big laugh each day.  It has been proven that laughter makes you feel better and reduces stress.  Laughter makes hormones that boost immunity and creates beta-endorphins that stave off depression.  Moreover, laughing every day is not all that difficult.  There are copious amounts of things to laugh about: funny articles, comic strips, movies, hilarious memories, etc. 

Another tip: try absorbing nature.  Focus your attention on your natural surroundings.  If you do something as simple as examining a plant leaf by leaf, you’ll improve your attention and begin finding joy in the every day.

Now just to be clear: I’m not saying that you should gloss over the negative, ignore painful emotions, or pretend that everything is OK.   What I am saying is that you should be moving forward and trying to be flexible.   Paying attention and practicing gratitude gives you some peace.

It’s hard, no doubt about it. But just because something is “hard” doesn’t mean it should stop you.

Every day I put up a question at Facebook.com/DrLaura.  Recently, I asked, “What’s your secret for remaining joyful even in the midst of tough times?”  Here are two of the responses:

From Loren:

Last night I was reminded of this as we were traveling down I-5 with our three kids under 4.  They had colds and were coughing constantly while trying to drift off to sleep. We were well on our way and had already stopped three times to accommodate the needs of everyone. My oldest son, 4, started coughing harder and harder in a sleepy daze when he started vomiting.

Ugh! I was so tired – my husband and I had been on a nonstop agenda for weeks and we wanted to escape for a peaceful early Thanksgiving break with family, but now this happened. I know both my husband and I could have very easily argued and been stressed, but I grabbed a blanket, caught all the upchuck, and snapped at my husband desperately, “Pull over!!!” He didn’t want to because of the small shoulder on the road, but he did anyway. Barefoot and now smelly, I got out and assisted my son.  Together, my husband and I worked to switch out the car seat, wipe him down, and change his clothes, and we were back on the road 15 minutes later.

Four minutes after that, the rain started.  We both looked at each other and laughed thinking the same thing, “Well, at least we missed the rain!”

Although it was supposed to be a relaxing vacation, we found joy in the midst of the unexpected, unplanned interruptions of the journey.  My husband offered me his hand and said, “That was good teamwork.”

Now, they certainly have a good marriage.  And here is Deborah’s response:

As the parent of a soldier killed in Iraq, for a while joy didn’t seem to fit my vocabulary or mindset, but with time and meditation, I knew the only way to feel joy again and to honor our son and all those who have sacrificed for our country was to dwell on how they lived, not on how they died, and to let our son’s humor, leadership, and love of family and friends shine as best as I could through myself

I also choose not to keep company for very long with family or acquaintances who thrive on negative thoughts and attitudes. As our son did, I find ways to serve others, which brings much joy. I surround myself with words of positive thoughts by way of motivational books and framed motivational thoughts in each room of my home. As a person who deals with depression, “changing the way I think, speak, or do to the positive” helps keep me balanced with a heart of joy.

Why Are We So Mean Online?

Human beings have a tremendous capacity for evil, cruelty and meanness, and a lot of times, they consciously choose to be that way.  Even good people have mean moments.  They know exactly what they’re doing, but they do it anyway because being cruel makes them feel good.  As with anything in life, the higher up the ladder you are, the more haters are going to unload on you.  If you raise your head above the crowd, somebody’s going to come around with a sword and even you out.    

One of the most prevalent examples of this is seen in how people talk to each other online.  People use the Internet as a place where they can spew their vitriol, show their muscle, and have momentary feelings of power and superiority.  They check every five minutes to see how many people “like” them or how many “friends” they have.  Then, they vent their frustrations and post mean comments to each other because they are jealous about what they see other people accomplishing.  A lot of them want to believe they’re special.  If anyone – a friend, neighbor, or family member – criticizes them or says otherwise, their egos get deflated and they attack.

But why are people so nasty online in particular?

One of the main reasons is that their faces can’t be seen.  A social interaction on the Internet is not 1 percent as intimate and fulfilling as interacting in person, and therefore, many people hide there.  It’s easy.  Looking somebody square in the eye and saying something mean is a lot harder to do.  It takes a very particular kind of person to be able to do that without turning red.  In general, when you’re making eye contact, it’s tougher to be your most base self. 

Another explanation for why people are so cruel to each other online is because they are bored.  When you spend a ridiculous amount of hours just browsing and surfing the web, eventually you’re going to need some drama or stimulation. So, hey, why not randomly attack somebody and see if you can get a rise out of them?

If you find yourself getting caught up in someone else’s mean behavior online, my solution is simple: get a life!   Do you seriously think it’s useful to waste your life spending hours on the Internet?!  The Internet is not a life – it’s instead of life. 

I think our ability to use the Internet for information and important communication is an amazing technological feat.  However, just like having one glass of wine after dinner is fine but getting fall-down drunk is not, the way you use the Internet matters.  The big problem is that it’s being used for terrorism, bullying, and destroying people’s reputations, not productivity.

California Goes After Social Network Privacy Policies

California State bill SB 242  was recently introduced (and amended last week) which would make social networking sites, like Facebook, take down personal information and photos for account users under age 18 and require more privacy settings (I think this should be a national law). 

SB-242, introduced by California State Senator Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) would require all security setting to default to “private” and charge up to $10,000 per violation, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 

I have to applaud Sen. Corbett – up one side and down the other.

These sites are not set up for privacy, and they’re complicated to negotiate. People who use Facebook and sites like it to engage in social/political activities are not necessarily posting information they want to share with the whole world. Even if information is private to other users, it’s not private to Facebook, and can still be used for marketing and advertising purposes.

As I see it, the main problem is you give all your private information before you then determine thelevel of privacy. It’s not well structured. And yes, parents also ought to have the power to remove information or photos from their children’s pages or accounts (one of the provisions of the bill). The bill would require “removal of that information regarding a user under 18 years of age upon request by the user’s parent, within 48 hours of his or her request.”

Facebook is not happy about this bill. I guess it’s a little more work for them, but it’s good PR for them to say they’ll put in the work to protect kids. When you’re not an adult, you lack the foresight to see a picture of yourself drinking beer, along with the message that “I’m so wasted,” could be problematic when interviewing for a job. It’s true 30-year-olds can also post the same nonsense, so everything can’t be blamed on youth.

The 48-hour deadline might be tight, but I don’t care – they’ll just have to figure out a way to set up programs to make that work. If a parent is calling up every day, however, then the site probably should just terminate that account, because that means the parents aren’t really “parenting.”

In fact, a lot of parents are ignorant, unresponsive, uninvolved, unaware, and “unsupervisory” when it comes to their children:

  • 81% of parents with children who go online say kids aren’t careful enough when giving out information (which is why I don’t think kids should be online at all without parental supervision)


  • 44% of teens online with social networking profiles say they have been contacted by a stranger, compared with 16% of those without social networking profiles.


  • 14% of kids have actually met face-to-face with a person they first met on the Internet.


  • When asked how they responded when contacted online by a stranger, only THREE percent of online kids said they told an adult or authority figure. Most kids said they didn’t report the contact because they were afraid of losing Internet privileges.


  • Between 2007 and 2009, MySpace deleted 90,000 accounts because they were created by registered sex offenders.


Parents are always the first line of defense. Check up on everything. Never, never worry about losing your kid’s trust. They don’t trust you anyway.

Think about it. Most of the time they don’t want to tell you the truth, because they’ll get punished or they’ll lose some privilege. They’re not going to tell you something bad happened on the Internet. They’re afraid you won’t let them use the Internet if they mention it. And kids will lie to do what they want to do or do what their friends are doing or what they think they should be allowed to do. 

So don’t be naïve. Don’t think “My kids wouldn’t do that. My kids are wonderful.” They’re kids! I’m not saying they’re criminals, but I am saying they’re kids, and kids can make very unwise choices.

UPDATE on bill SB242: Unfortunately, it has stalled in the Calfornia legislature after aggressive lobbying by Facebook, Google, Twitter and other firms. The bill failed to pass in the California State Senate just this past Friday, May 27. The measure was deadlocked with a 16-16 vote. State Sen. Ellen Corbett (D-San Leandro) said the bill had been “fiercely” lobbied against by opponents, but she plans to bring the bill back for another vote later this week.