We are living in a strange time. Our children will grow up in a world that is vastly different than we did, and totally unrecognizable to our parents. With the advent of the internet and the rise of social media, kids have access to more information than ever and it’s not always a good thing.
On one hand, social media has allowed us to remain connected with family and friends who are spread out around the world. But on the other hand, the feeling of anonymity provided by social media motivates people to do and say things they shouldn’t. School children are bullying and being bullied in what has turned out to be a completely unsupervised space with very few checks and balances. So how do you protect your children in this age of social media?
The reality is, your children are growing up in a digital world where social networks are more and more common and - for all of their downsides and complications - can be used to connect people and promote positive social change. That said, as parents, it’s your right to limit access when they are too young to really comprehend its impact. Even if every one of their friends has an account on the next big social platform it may not be right for your child. Limiting access to specific platforms is healthy, and so is limiting the amount of time spent online. Consider taking your child's’ electronics at bedtime so they can get a good night’s sleep without the temptation of glowing screens.
Promote Open Dialogue At Home
If your children are taking part in social media, make sure you are having an open dialogue about who they are talking to and what sites they are on. Do your research, there are some sites that are not safe for the youngsters in your family. To ensure that your children are not getting in too deep, you can install programs which limit their access to particular websites.
When your children are comfortable sharing these things with you, you can nip potential issues in the bud. And take note of changes in your child’s mood. If your child is being bullied online or at school he or she may be showing signs that you’re not aware of.
Lead By Example
It isn’t just kids who are spending inordinate amounts of time on social media these days. Adults have been pulled into the web of technology too. If you find yourself constantly scrolling you may be addicted. Take the responsibility of limiting your own social media usage as an example to your young and impressionable children. The more they see you on your phone, the more it will seem like an acceptable way to spend time. Plus, you will gain back free time and peace of mind when you put down the devices.
As we press on into an ever-more digital and connected age there is no telling how social media will have affected us mentally and emotionally. There isn’t enough research to tell the impact of staring into screens, and it may be decades before we really understand the impact of social media on our culture. Take care of yourself as an example to your family that connectedness is more than just likes on an iPhone. For more parenting tips or information about a St. Barnabas education, contact us today.