Social media and kids

Finding a balance between being a helicopter parent and parenting can sometimes be a challenge in today’s social media frenzy. As parents we hand our children a device and expect them to understand the etiquette and responsibility around it when they do not even remember to brush their teeth every day. What results is inappropriate pictures and bullying. I do feel some parents think if other kids have it than it is fine and some use it themself so they think their child just understands, truth is they do not. We as parents need to come at this from the child perspective, that impulse act that they live on. When we give them a phone with Snapchat, Instagram and all the other social media sites we open up a world to them with endless possibilities some that are very scary. First there is the sex element that many do not think about if their child is young but kids are curious. Maybe they are searching it up possibly no big deal but the internet is not like the old school PlayBoy it is graphic and can really alter views for kids without a conversation about what they are seeing. These kids are sending pictures of their body parts to other kids via SnapChat that “go away” but the receiver takes a screenshot that lasts forever. Not to mention what a violation to the one getting the image if they do not want it. Add sexual predators to the mix and you have another layer to this that really scares me. You have to talk to your kids about all this and not just once. Second, there is taking pictures of other people without their consent. Kids are doing this a lot and then snapping them, posting and sending them all over. Where is the privacy? They add captions that can be humiliating as well which is cyber bullying at its best. I have been at stores and watched random kids do this, my children have as well and I have shut it down. Would you want someone doing that to you? It is a straight violation of someone's privacy. Third, they really feel more is better. These kids are wanting, craving “likes”, follows, “friends". They are becoming obsessed with it to the point it becomes an addiction and they lose focus of the people they are actually with. Which is directly affecting their behavior. How as parents can we change this? We need the school to help us or the community. Mostly because the majority of parents do not patrol their children's devices, I know I am in the minority here and I am ok with that.I still respect my child because they have not given me any reasons not to but I want to be watching out just the same. I own my kid’s phone so I do random phone checks so I know my kids do NOT have a “Finsta” (fake instagram for those parents who have no clue. It is what they do so they can post what they do not want their parents to see). I have found comments and videos that have been something we needed to discuss. They are kids, they need guiding and they are far from perfect.That is why I am checking and we are learning from it together. Back when we were kids someone made a comment about you it was a he said she said thing or a note that was destroyed. Now the internet leaves a mark that never goes away even if they “delete” it. These kids have to live with that forever and they have no concept of that at this age. I follow their accounts, they hate it but I am not here to be their BFF I am their parent. We have a no device day on Sunday’s for just a few hours. It is not much but I think they need to see they do not need to be attached to the screen nor do I. These are small things in this big social media world but things that can really make a difference in their life. Social media is affecting their relationships with friends and not in a positive way it is really time for us parents to wake up and get active. To push the schools for a social media seminar for them and us. The internet is not going away let’s teach them to use it to their advantage instead of being irresponsible and hurting each other. All of those kids who were cyber bullied, who had sexual pictures spread across the internet, who were attacked by sexual predators were given a device by a parent who thought their kid could handle it. We have to do better for our kids, after all they are just kids.

Posted on May 14, 2019 .