This is Safe on Social - Jacinta Saxton
I grew up in NSW but have called Victoria home for over 15 years. I live in a small country town called Yarragon, a well-known tourist stop if venturing east of Victoria from Melbourne. It is a beautiful part of the world, and while I still can't get my head around Victorian weather, Autumn in Yarragon (and Melbourne) is particularly wonderful.
I am married with three young children. We lead the typical family life with our pet golden retriever. My kids experience the absolute best of town life and farm life, as in addition to owning a farm, their grandparents have a farm as well. We currently live in town near their school, so they also get to enjoy the beauty of riding bikes and playing in the cul-de-sac on their own.
I have never been a person to have strong hobbies or interests – I am more a "dabbler". So currently, I am back into gardening and trying to keep my plants alive for longer than a few weeks. I also have just started doing puzzles again. I found that dinner time was the bane of my existence, so I have set up a puzzle at the end of the dinner table so I can be present with my children while they eat but also not want to pull my hair out as I tell my 4 and 8-year-olds to just sit and eat for the millionth time! Other interests are my regular group exercise classes (totally hopeless on my own!) and socializing with whoever I possibly can. A real downfall for me of not having "standard" work is that I crave interaction with others – possibly a reason my local café staff know me and my dog very well.
My interest in working with Safe on Social was piqued by the challenges I knew I was entering into with raising my own children. In addition to my own children, I also have five nieces and ten nephews. My extended family, who live near and very far, are a very important part of my life. Some of these kids are gamers, others love TikTok, and the younger ones love YouTube like my own children. They all have not known life without social media, and they all have parents who are regularly dumbstruck and struggling to keep up with the challenges and pitfalls. Between chats with my own siblings and other friends, parents are having the same issues and often don't have the time to wade through the vast amount of information out there.
Or, as I have found....they don't even know where to start.
I have studied economics, psychology, and my Master of Business Administration. Nothing specifically related to technology at all. However, these studies have led me to jobs in business consulting, change management, communications, and training across a range of public and private organizations. I have always found it interesting and important work to educate and help others with their interpersonal skills – which are the same key skills for good social media etiquette.
When I hear about the challenges people are facing on social media, it regularly makes me think of the basics we teach on good communication skills. For me, it feels like adults often act very differently behind their screens than they would if they were eye to eye with the other humans they were engaging with. With children, this behaviour can often be even more challenging as they are still growing and developing as individuals themselves, and their brains are yet to understand risks, consequences, and right and wrong.
Over the last 10 years, I have also gone through quite a challenging mental health battle. This is ongoing and something that I will continually manage.
The links between mental health and social media are immense.
I have experienced the absolute benefits of social media and our technology-connected world, but I also know its drawbacks and how constant exposure to curated lives and limited face-to-face contact with other humans can have. Our whole societal structure has changed, and we are only beginning to see the consequences of less "real" human interaction and reduction of incidental connection. Social media has opened Pandora's box when it comes to mental health challenges, and I want to be part of early intervention on self-management and wellbeing for our children.
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