Is social media the new smoking? How will you teach your child about the harmful effects of a thing in which we actively participate? Do we have to quit?
— Kissing You Is Like Kissing an Algorithm
Yes and no. On the one hand, social media is toxic, addictive, and everywhere, and, as you said, Gen-X parents are prime I Learned It By Watching You Passive-Aggressively “Like” That Obnoxious Pumpkin Patch Photo By That PTO Mom You Hate. So yes, I think that if we’re going to tell our kids not to do it, we do have to quit. On the other hand, smoking, though gross and deadly, was extremely social and really goddamned fun. I made so many friends (and quite a few more-than-friends) thanks to smoking. Social media is profoundly alienating and destroys all the fun from life. On the balance, I sort of wish I’d never seen a Facebook but I still got to have smoke breaks with my cool coworkers in the stairwell of the old Chinatown building where the weird “professional” TV-trivia writing job I had in the early Aughts used to be.