IRL (In Real Life): The Social Media Alternative

ways to engage with real people

Once upon a time, kids roamed free in their backyards. They rode their bikes to friends’ homes down the street. They played ball games, dress-up, and all kinds of interactive games in real life. Remember those times?

Our kids are on a path to lifelessness as they sit, glued to screens and online realities instead of real realities. It’s up to us to rescue them from this decline in society. It’s not to say that social media, devices, and the online realm aren’t useful and fun, however, we need to show them that living in the moment, in reality, is 1,000 times cooler than the online world.

Here’s how:

Invite the kids over to play. Break the cycle in your home. Have your son’s friends come over. Don’t allow any technology and instead, let them play the old-fashioned way. No computer games, no internet. Have them play out in the yard or build blocks, or even imagine they’re superheroes. Our kids need an imaginative play or they will never think up wise solutions to problems in the real adult world when they’re grown up.

Get outside. Shake things up and have the kids come outside with you for an adventure. Go for a bike ride. Go for a walk. Go out and get ice cream! Whatever it is, just leave technology behind.

Teach them how to use a phone the old-fashioned way. Remember when you wanted to play with your friends and you’d actually dial their number and ask if they could come to play? Kids these days have no clue about this. We can’t let this be the norm. Give your kids the number of their friend and tell them to call and politely greet their friend’s parents. “Hi, Mrs. Smith! It’s Tommy Anderson. Can Billy please come over to play?” It may seem so simple, but having these skills when they grow up and go into the working world will serve them very well.

Go somewhere without social media. Take a family trip and make it a rule that no social media will be used by anyone, including you. Go camping or stay in a resort, and only use your smartphone in case of an emergency. It will show your kids there is way more to life than staring at a screen.

Find ways to engage with real people. Do your kids message each other while they’re in the same room? This has to stop! Encourage real conversations at the dinner table without devices. Have your kids join groups that interest them to meet other kids their age and interact with them in reality.

When your kids see how much fun it is living in the real world, they’ll be less likely to laze away scrolling through the online one.