Is social media sucking the life out of your family relationships?

Friday, April 11th, 2014

2014 March Monthly Round Up

Mobile connectivity ushered into the world a cyber realm with which the heart and mind of every precious soul must contend. The challenge is to manage your heart and mind like is is the Garden of Eden.

Mobile connectivity ushered into the world a cyber realm with which the heart and mind of every precious soul must contend. The challenge is to manage your heart and mind like it is the Garden of Eden.

Ten years ago I started my brand of journalism, Banana Moments, to understand intimately and educate about how cyber-connectivity is impacting our youth, ourselves and the new demands on parents to govern the home. For me it was a matter of life and death as mobile connectivity ushered into the world a cyber realm with which the heart and mind of every precious soul must contend.

This is a game changer for simply being the parent and what it means to be a kid.

And still what has not changed is that our desire to protect and save the children from hardship requires us to first save ourselves from the same fate.  For we cannot give what we do not have in order to overcome the world: love, peace and joy.

Beware of adult peer pressure

A recent blog post in Mamapedia articulates beautifully this dilemma of the modern parent and child. In her article, “Parenting before social media: Was it Easier?”, blogger Jennifer Ball makes an excellent point for the anxiety-inducing constant pressure modern moms feel from social media-centric living where steady streams of photos and “likes” redirect your attention, your heart and mind, to be perfect by creating magical moments for their children. It is a performance act that seeks applause and acknowledgement from others who are not family.  She ponders:

“And that’s the thing: do these parents, the dress-making, fondant-rolling, dinosaur-posing ones…would they do all of this if there was no place to post pictures? If the only likes or comments or shares they got were from their children?”

This is the pivotal question. Seriously, we must ask ourselves, “Am I relating to my child, spouse, friend, or am I choosing to give all my attention to ‘the world’ when I am taking photos and posting and seeking status updates?” And so it goes, being purpose-driven requires us to take command over our own heart and mind. And that means attention management in a cyber-powered world.

“A man’s mind may be likened to a garden, which may be intelligently cultivated or allowed to run wild; but whether cultivated or neglected, it must, and will, bring forth. If no useful seeds are put into it, then an abundance of useless weed seeds will fall therein, and will continue to produce their kind.”
James Allen, As a Man Thinketh

Great philosophers like James Allen and Kahlil Gibrand offer beautiful analogies of what this means to take command of the realm of hearts and minds. Allen summons up the image of managing attention to thoughts like cultivating a garden. One might imagine bad or negative thoughts as weeds that will take us over if we allow it. So we have the power to choose what to plant and what to remove so as to create our own Garden of Eden from within.

“You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.” – Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet (1923)

 We are all executives granted free will and intelligence by our Creator. We are learning how to use this power wisely.

We are all executives granted free will and intelligence by our Creator. We are learning how to use this power wisely.

Gibran offers the image of archery, which has inspired me to envision the human condition as an archery lesson about God’s love for humanity.  When we think of sin as an archery term for anything off of bull’s-eye, then it is possible to see the heart of God as the bull’s-eye where we can choose to aim our hearts and minds, where there is no fear, only love and perfect peace. So for me, a lie on the map of sin can become a real experience (bullying, addiction and exploitation) in the physical and cyber realms that murders truth, knocking our aim off of focusing on the heart of God. And so the challenge is to keep aiming for the bull’s-eye no matter how many times our aim is knocked off on the map of sin.

So if there is not a decent measure of peace at home. If you are feeling uneasy about your family life and your relationships with your children leave you wondering if you have done enough, or even if you are capable or are enough, take a look at what thoughts are growing in your own Garden of Eden. Are they thoughts rooted in God’s promises? Or are they rooted in the expectations of the world, which can be harsh and  punishing and knock our aim off of the bull’s-eye.

Ball sums up beautifully what children need and want from us does not come from keeping up with the Jones’, hyped in social media. “It doesn’t have to be forced, or photo-shopped or posted anywhere to make it that way. You. Some time. Love. That’s all they really want from us,” she writes. “Everything else is just gravy, and we all know that too much gravy isn’t necessarily a good thing.”

Indeed the truth is simple and brings about peace, while the lies are complex and stir negativity. The lies are like weeds which will grow wild and take over without proactive attention management.

 2014 March Monthly Round Up

Cyber Safety For Kids and Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9FM The Fish Family Morning Show

Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. – Psalm 46:10

Upcoming Events

Internet porn and sexting: What kids need parents to know

Date: Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time: 2pm to 5pm

Where: Life Community Church, 10020 Foothills Blvd., Roseville, CA  916-788-2697

Free and open to the public. Register.


How to make summer time a fun learning experience (with and without the devices)

Dates and Times: Tuesday May 20, 6:30-8:00pm, and Wednesday May 21, 10:00 to 11:30am

Where: St. Joseph Marello Catholic Church

7200 Auburn Folsom Road, Granite Bay. CA 95746  916-786-5001

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information contact: Joanna


Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.





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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna ( and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.