IS THERE A BATTLE GOING ON IN YOUR HOUSE OVER SOCIAL MEDIA?
On one hand, you think your teen is too focused on it. Your teen, on the other hand, thinks that you are out of touch with how important it is today.
You do have reason to be concerned. Excessive use of social media has potential dangers, especially for teens.
However, you don’t have to throw the baby out with the bathwater. In fact, social media has a lot of benefits.
YOUR TEEN CAN HAVE THOSE CONNECTIONS, WITHOUT ALL OF THE DAMAGE. THESE FIVE TIPS WILL HELP.
1.) UNDERSTAND AND EXPLAIN THE RISKS TO YOUR TEEN
For starters, get clear on your concerns.
Here are some of the risks:
- Body image issues because looks are important on social media
- Cyberbullying, catfishing, and other online dangers
- Difficulty socializing in real life
- Feeling left out
- Increased likelihood of depression as well as anxiety and other mental health issues
- Decreased self-esteem
- Sleep deprivation which, in turn, this leads to problems with health and school achievement
- Physical health issues including aches, carpal tunnel, and eye strain
- Potential changes in the physical brain for which research is ongoing
Choose a few of your top concerns. Then, talk these over with your teen. Remember, though, that this should be a discussion, not a lecture.
You want to open the channel of communication. Not only will this help your teen understand your concern but it will also let them know what dangers to look out for.
Also, it will increase the likelihood they’ll come to you if there is a problem.
2.) ASK YOUR TEEN ABOUT THEIR SOCIAL MEDIA EXPERIENCE
The only way to know what social media is like for your teen is to ask.
Be curious. Ask about what she likes to do online. Find out what concerns them.
Additionally, remember that there are things about social media that are great for teens including:
- Connects teens to their peers
- Provides a way to safely explore different identities
- Offers a global perspective and exposure to social topics
- Provides a platform for self-expression
Don’t belittle the benefits. In fact, help your teen to focus on using social media in a positive way.
3.) BARTER FOR TIME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Some parents set limits on their children’s social media use.
For example, a parent might limit children to one hour of use per day. However, with teens, it can be even more useful to barter for the time that they want.
The goal is to make sure that for every hour your teen is on social media, they’re doing another hour of something that you want them to do.
Things you might want to barter include:
- Reading print magazines or books
- Participating in an extracurricular activity
- Spending time with friends in the real world
- Exercising or joining team sports
- Learning a new hands-on hobby
- Taking a class in something that interests them
- Spending time with the family
4.) MONITOR YOUR TEEN’S SOCIAL MEDIA USE
This may mean that you know your child’s passwords and regularly check their activity.
Alternatively, it can mean following your teen using your account. This will vary depending on your child’s age, developmental stage, and other risk factors.
For example, you might monitor your 13-year-old much differently from how you monitor your 17-year-old.
5.) SEEK HELP FOR UNDERLYING ISSUES
If your teen has recently turned to excessive media use, there may be an underlying reason.
For example, while social media use can increase depression depending on type of exposure with social media use. Over social media use, may also be a symptom of underlying depression and/or anxiety.
Whenever there’s a behavioral change, including a change in social media use, it might be because your teen needs help.
Technology changes quickly. It is normal for parents to feel overwhelmed by it.
Please, contact us if you want help navigating this issue in your family.