I realize that I am on a bit of a soap box about social media, but I feel strongly that the constant connection is having a negative social and emotional impact on our students. Last week, I shared my recommendations for managing your child’s digital life.
When your child goes to bed, the cell phone and other devices must go to bed (in a separate room.)
Set some device free times: dinner, car rides, or Saturday mornings.
Talk to your child frequently about your expectations.
Monitor and occasionally check your child’s digital footprint. (Check out the full list of available software and apps or start now. You can monitor, set usage times, and filter content.)
I am not an expert, and my conviction in this area is based largely on experience. But, the experts are weighing in and recommending similar guidelines. In a New York Timespiece last year, Dr. Leonard Sax noted that girls are especially vulnerable to the negative impacts of social media. To help combat the issue, Dr. Sax offered parents three researched based suggestions.
“Insist that your daughter, or son, do whatever they’re doing online in a public space: in the kitchen or the living room. There should be nothing in the bedroom except a bed: no TV, no PlayStation, no screens.”
“Another suggestion: fight for suppertime. And don’t allow phones at the table.”
“A third suggestion: No headsets and no earbuds in the car. When your child is in the car with you, you should be listening to her and she should be listening to you…”
Use my recommendations, or Dr. Sax’s suggestions, or design your own family guidelines. Take action and help set the example. (I am still recommending a “No Snapchat policy for all sixth graders.” And, do 11 and 12 year olds really need group texts?)