FAMILY FIRST

Erika Kao Photography  |  Northern NJ Photographer  |  Bergen County, New Jersey

I was born long enough ago that I can remember a time before this "social media" thing came into existence. There were tube TV sets with channels 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, and 13. There were rotary dial telephones with dial tones when you picked up the receiver. There were refrigerators that didn't dispense water and freezers that didn't make ice. Life had its own challenges before the digital age, but getting likes and comments on social media wasn't one of them.

As a photographer, I sometimes find myself looking to see how a photo I posted was doing.

"Did anyone comment?"

"Did it get any likes?"

"Did it get any new likes since the last time I checked?"

"Any more likes?"

It has the potential to be all-encompassing. A person can lose herself on her phone in a matter of minutes. With a few taps and swipes, she has access to the entire world, and more. Which is a truly frightening thing, especially for parents who have littles in their presence who just want some company and love. "Can we read a book together, Mama?" or "Can you play with me for a few minutes, Mama?"

It could break your heart.

I try hard not to spend a lot of time on my phone when my girls are around, but it's hard. A friend or a family member texts you. You just need to make a quick edit to your digital shopping list before you forget you're out of ketchup or coffee or toilet paper. Your husband nudged you that it's your turn at Words With Friends.

It's extremely, painfully, and ridiculously easy to obsess. Some days, I do really well by posting and moving on to live my life and break away from the screens that seem to constantly whisper my name. But other days, well, like I said, it's very easy to get roped in.

This has been on my mind for some time now. In just over two weeks, my daughters start school. One will be in Kindergarten and one will begin preschool. For the first time since becoming a mother six years ago, I will not have my children at arm's reach.

Because of this, you won't see me posting on social media until after their first days. Don't get me wrong! I love my phone and I adore social media, and I get great joy from the mutual sharing of stories and photos. But, for now, for the next week and a bit, I want to truly put my family first and soak up these last few moments of summer.

It's not going to be easy to let you go, but I'm pretty sure I won't regret it.

Ciao for now, friends.

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Let me add this disclaimer: I realize that there are far greater evils than these when it comes to social media. My words here should in no way diminish the power of social media or those instances where social media was used for something other than good. I know that to some, this post may seem trivial, and I'm sure it is. So, forgive me my indulgence here please.