Widespread use of iPads, iPhones and iMacs meansparents need an “iManual” on managing their kids’ digital use!
Parents, are you often finding yourself facing a tantrum over iPad usage? In the digital era, asking how much screen time is too much, and how to set limits around it, can be a challenge? Considering that on average a child gets a smart phone at age 10, and has a social media account by age 11, these are important questions.
What the research is telling us?
Kids who have social media accounts are checking Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter and other platforms up to 100 times a day, anxiously monitoring their popularity status. FOMO (a fear of missing out) is a researched a phenomenon, kids and teens describe as anxiety about missing out on something.
What are the pros and cons?
Having access to devices at home and in the classroom creates enhanced learning opportunities for our kids. Being connected on social media creates :
- Opportunities for teens to support each other
- Increased community engagement
- The Sharing of ideas
On the downside, 50% of teens report being addicted to their mobile devices. This can lead to certain risks, including:
- Lack of privacy
- Negative effects on sleep
- A need to be perfect, fostered by social comparison
What can parents do?
Between homework, cell phones, ever changing apps and social media accounts, keeping up with your kids’ digital use is not an easy task. There may be some bumps in the road and tantrums in your future, but here are some helpful tips supported by research.
- Go home and talk to your kids. Sometimes we get caught in the trap of telling. Ask then LISTEN. The irony is that texting may be the way to start the conversation!
- Become better educated about what apps and social media platforms your child is using.
- Develop a family online-use plan. Create a family contract around digital use that makes rules concrete and clear, and outlines child and parent responsibilities.
- Monitor online activities via active participation. Create an Instagram account and follow your child. (Facebook is no longer cool!)
Lastly, here are some helpful resources: