Kelly Pegg: Social media - I don’t want to end up living in virtual reality

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Social media is a part of everyday life, it’s everywhere and if you don’t know how to use it you’re made to feel like a leper.

Everyone and anyone wants to share their life, their thoughts and their opinions with the rest of the world but at what cost?

There are without doubt big downfalls to using social media – your privacy is invaded, you risk falling victim to trolls, you start to feel inadequate because you are measuring yourself against other people.

For me, social media allows us to see too much and in my opinion there are some things we just don’t need to know about.

Social media is such a powerful tool and can scaremonger and have people worried unnecessarily and at the moment I think that’s a real threat. I was a journalist for ten years but once I fell pregnant with my daughter I no longer wanted to continue, in fact I stopped watching the news all together. Sometimes I would like awake thinking about all the horror in the world and it would truly terrify me.

I decided I just wanted to live in my bubble for a while and protect my baby, thinking positive, safe thoughts.

The world scares me, I don’t mind admitting it. Everything seems to be about terror and war at the moment and I sometimes have a hard time trying to distinguish fact from fiction.

A friend of mine told me recently that he believes the epidemic of fake news is a big contributor to some of the major issues going on in the world at the moment. Another one of my friends recently deleted their Facebook account because they didn’t want to see all the negative posts about the General Election.

For all the downsides, social media has many plus points. It can open up the possibilities of meeting new people; it can help people keep in touch. Which is the main reason I am on Facebook.

It also provides a platform to raise awareness about important issues and to prevent people from feeling lonely or isolated. I admit I am also on Twitter and I have made some lovely acquaintances on there. I have also been trolled and read things about myself that aren’t true and hurt my feelings. I confess to not really knowing how to use it but because of my job I have to stay on there.

Then there is Instagram. Now I do love Instagram, but sometimes I find myself looking at people’s ‘perfect’ pictures of their seemingly ‘perfect’ life and comparing mine to theirs. That’s really not healthy for anyone but it’s so easy to do! My best friend Danielle came off social media at Christmas. “I find myself looking at all sorts of rubbish instead of paying attention to my children!” is what she told me. I get that, it is so easy to get sucked into watching a video someone has just posted or trawling through someone’s Twitter page to see what they are up to. Yep, there we are glued to technology whilst real life is just passing us by and it’s a real shame. I do believe social media has a place in the world but I wish it wasn’t such a prominent one. In my opinion you can’t beat writing a letter to someone or better still having a proper conversation. I don’t know about you but I do not want to end up living in a virtual reality.

Having a conversation is real, you and I are real right now and that’s what counts.For all the time we spend trawling through our phones, we could be spending time with someone special. Anyone can post a picture that looks amazing, myself included, but it isn’t reality. Most importantly the only opinion that matters is yours and those of your loved ones. It’s time we got real and gave less thought to social media and more thought to our real face-to-face to relationships with the people we love. That counts more than anything else.

Everyone needs a break

I was lucky enough to have a week off recently with my husband and daughter and it was bliss.

There was no 4 am alarm call, no rushing around, no driving anywhere and I felt healthier than I have in a long time. Every morning Ava-Lilly got into our bed at around 6am, snuggled up with us and we all just slept and had long lie ins. My hubby Chris started ‘project fence’ which saw him successfully build a new fence in our front garden. There were a few hitches but we will keep that just between you and I.

We took some long walks on the beach with our dogs and everything was stress free and peaceful. Not only does having a break from our daily routine make us feel better, it makes us appreciate what we have.

We are so busy with life that it’s easy to take one another for granted. I do it all the time with my family but when I spend all my time with them, I realise just how lucky I am. When my alarm went off on Monday morning at 3.45am I nudged hubby and whispered: “You need to start buying lottery tickets. This work lark is overrated!”

Chance to make new friends

This week I attended a speed awareness course and like most people who get booked on to one of these – I was dreading it!

However it turned out to be a great afternoon, rather surprisingly.

I ended up making new friends and exchanging numbers with them. When I told this story on the breakfast show my co-hosts Ant and Michael called me weird! I’m one of these people who will talk to anyone, it’s one of the things my husband say’s he really admires about me. I can sit alone anywhere – a café, a pub, even when I’m shopping and I’ll make friends with people.

With all the moving around I’ve done in the last two years I often feel lonely, especially as my friends are spread out all over the UK. It can be hard to make new friends, especially as we get older so I’ll grab the opportunity when it arises.

PA Photo/thinkstockphotos.

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