Randi Zuckerberg, the 34-year-old media executive and mom of two boys, is no stranger to social media. Besides being the sister to Mark Zuckerberg, she herself has made a career out of social media. She never thought, however, that social media would help her diagnose for her younger son Simcha’s hearing problem.
Zuckerberg opened up to TODAY about how she became worried when he was 20 months old, but hadn’t said anything yet–and still wasn’t walking. She said:
“I had second child syndrome. [My husband and I were] so on top of everything.”
Zuckerberg is the bestselling author of “Dot Complicated: Untangling Our Wired Lives,” and creator and executive producer of the Sprout Channel’s animated children’s series “DOT.,” which debuts October 22. For a time, she also worked as the director of marketing at Facebook. So what actually tipped her off?
Apparently, last April, when she was doing her “routine morning social media check,” Zuckerberg clicked on Facebook’s “On This Day” feature. it was then that a post popped up about what her older son was saying on the day he had turned 18 months old. That’s when she knew something was wrong, stating:
“My kid’s brother had full sentences at the same age, and he still couldn’t say ‘Mama.’ What’s going on? That was the moment I knew I needed to seek professional help.”
Eventually, an audiologist diagnosed Simi with hearing loss caused by an ear infection when he was very young that didn’t fully resolve. Now 2, Simi has undergone surgery and speech therapy, which has helped him tremendously. Understandably, Zuckerberg sometimes struggles with guilt at not being able to help him sooner, explaining:
“I felt a lot of guilt, too, because, oh my gosh, how can my child get to 20 months old and be that hard of hearing and I not realize it? It was really helpful to me to turn to a lot of moms on social media that I didn’t know but who were in the same position I was.”
Zuckerberg went on to explain how our complicated and ever-present relationship with social media has at once helped her, and made her rethink how she reacts:
“On one hand, I was able to seek a professional diagnosis for my son because of the social media community. But at the same time, I should have trusted my own gut instead of trusting the echo chamber around me. Social media can be a wonderful thing, but you have to do your own research and trust your gut.”
We’re so glad that Simi got the help he needed.