conversation starter

Spot the Difference

As I sat on the couch last night and tried to finish up a client ezine, Vista got up from the floor where she was using Bil as a jungle gym, grabbed her ‘laptop’, and climbed up on the couch next to me.

V at photoshoot Spot the DifferencePart of me laughed, but there was a little part of me that was completely horrified. I want her to be two. I want her to play with blocks and barbies. I want her to create with paintbrush not Paint.Net.

So I watched the great interest when Momspotting was launched on BlogHer back in November. I wanted to see how other moms handled technology with their children. I wanted to see how they navigated this digital minefield.

I have to say, I’ve been a bit disappointed so far.

Momspotting has become less about families and technology and more about being in an exclusive group.

It’s easy to find this group of moms. Just do a search on Twitter for the hashtag #momspotting.

Oh, but don’t use it yourself. Oh no. That hash tag is just for this exclusive group. If you use it and they catch you, you will be sent a sternly worded DM or email letting you know that YOU are not a Momspotter and THEY are and YOU can’t use #momspotting because it’s only for THEM.

I wish I was kidding, but I’m not.

I’ve never personally gotten one of these gems myself, but I have several friends who have and have showed me the polite, but stern, ‘you’re not one of us’ notes.

So instead of Momspotting opening a dialogue about how we protect and direct our children in this age of technology, it’s become a marker to denote a closed group. This has been evidenced by more and more of these tweets having nothing to do with technology (and wasn’t that the point?)

I think this was a noble initiative. And it had (and still does have) huge potential. But it needs to be an inclusive conversation starter.

Rather than having these 20 or so moms ‘owning’ this hashtag, why not make them the leaders instead? Let them prompt, coach, and encourage everyone to share their own experiences, their own tips, their own rules around technology and their families.

But by shutting people down when they try to participate and use the #momspotting tag, they’re nullifying a huge part of the effect they could have. People want to be part of a conversation, not just spoken at.

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