Parenting the Social Media Generation

Parenting in this day and age is a whole new world friends!  From the time our children are able to grab our smart phones, they are exposed to electronics, social media, and content that even ten years ago we would never have thought to allow our children to view.  While we cannot stop the progress of technology (which overall is pretty cool), we can parent responsibly in this whole new and quickly evolving world of technology and social media.  

Developmentally Appropriate Media Ages Birth - 6+

Here are the guidelines set by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): 

  • For children younger than 18 months, avoid use of screen media other than video-chatting. Parents of children 18 to 24 months of age who want to introduce digital media should choose high-quality programming, and watch it with their children to help them understand what they're seeing.

  • For children ages 2 to 5 years, limit screen use to 1 hour per day of high-quality programs. Parents should co-view media with children to help them understand what they are seeing and apply it to the world around them.

  • For children ages 6 and older, place consistent limits on the time spent using media, and the types of media, and make sure media does not take the place of adequate sleep, physical activity and other behaviors essential to health. 

  • Designate media-free times together, such as dinner or driving, as well as media-free locations at home, such as bedrooms.

  • Have ongoing communication about online citizenship and safety, including treating others with respect online and offline.

  • Create your Family Media Plan 

Can My Child Be Addicted to Video Games?

In short, yes.  Research is emerging that indicates that HOW your child uses video games versus HOW MANY hours a day, may be predictive of unhealthy patterns of use.  According to Clinical Child Psychologist Sarah E. Domoff, watch for these signs*:

  • Unsuccessful Control: It's hard for my child to stop using screen media

  • Loss of Interest: Screen media is the only thing that motivates my child. 

  • Preoccupation: My child is preoccupied by screen media and it appears to be all my child thinks about.

  • Psychosocial Consequences: My child's use of screen media interrupts family time.

  • Serious Problems Due to Use: My child's screen time causes problems in the family.

  • Withdrawal:  My child becomes frustrated when he/she cannot use screen media.

  • Tolerance: The amount of time my child wants to use screen media keeps increasing.

  • Deception: My child sneaks using screen media.

  • Escape/Relieve Mood: When my child has had a bad day, screen media seems to be the only thing that helps him/her feel better.

Social Media & Your Teen

Social media is where our youth live today. They post their everything...from their inner most thoughts to what they are eating for breakfast.  Literally folks....they post pics of what they are eating.  What used to be kept private and confidential via diaries and journals is now laid bare for the world to see.   The result....their identities are directly linked almost entirely linked to their posts - who likes them and how many people like them.  Their self-esteem is often rooted in their virtual worlds to the point that reality and virtual reality are one in the same.  If they aren't "liked" on social media, then they feel unloved and unliked by the world as a whole.  That includes you mom and dad.   

Check out these articles:

How Using Social Media Effects Teenagers

Teaching Kids To Be Smart About Social Media 

Exploring A Teen’s Digital Footprint In 6 Clicks Or Less


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