Technology, Social Media and Your Teen

My kids are at a very low-tech school. There are no tvs, computers or tablets in the classroom, and mobile phones are forbidden during the school day. Families are motivated to keep their kids screen-free in the early years (up until age six) and for grade one through seven, restricted screen time is suggested for […]



My kids are at a very low-tech school. There are no tvs, computers or tablets in the classroom, and mobile phones are forbidden during the school day. Families are motivated to keep their kids screen-free in the early years (up until age six) and for grade one through seven, restricted screen time is suggested for weekends just. Our household has actually followed these standards given that our children started at the school and we have rarely differed them.

Now that my daughter is 13 and in high school, the struggle to restrict screen time and direct exposure to social networks is real. The majority of my child’s classmates have Instagram accounts and many of them are smuggling phones into the class, regardless of the “no tech” rule. She states that without her own account, she often feels a disconnect with her schoolmates due to the fact that she didn’t see the latest Instagram post that everybody is discussing. Are we hindering her ability to socialize and interact with her friends? Perhaps this is just the Generation Z (Post-Millennial) method of connecting to each other, like we did as teens when we pulled our long phone cords throughout the hall to our rooms to chat with buddies all night. This leaves me questioning my choices and hoping that my husband and I are making the ideal choices for our daughter when it pertains to limiting direct exposure to social media and screens. And I’m likewise wondering why it seems like I are among the only moms and dads still holding out.

However, after just recently seeing the documentary Screenagers: Growing Up in the Digital Age, I felt much better about our decisions when I saw research studies on the impacts of extreme screen time and how it can damage the physical development of young people’s brains. Studies show a connection in between excessive screen time and poorer attention periods, along with an unfavorable impact on learning. Screenagers filmmaker and mom, Dr. Delaney Ruston, records the real discomfort her daughter feels when her cellphone is taken away, and advises parents that teenagers are not able to self-regulate when it pertains to evaluate time and social networks. Parents and caregivers must be the ones to set limits and consider writing up an agreement to regulate screen usage if they choose to permit it. They must also set an example for kids by being excellent role models themselves. And that suggests having their own standards for time invested in devices.

Another motivating minute for me came at the end of the film, when a group of teens discuss how delighted they are that their parents implement limits and rules around their screen time, stating that they ‘d most likely be failing school if they didn’t have clear limits. How revitalizing. I think that what’s essential to bear in mind as a moms and dad navigating the ever-changing frontiers of technology and social media, is that you are still the shaper of your children’s future. If you place expectations on what food they consume, what grades they get and how much sleep they need, then why would not you do the same for media and innovation? Something to chew on. Who’s got my back?

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