I will share with you that for a lot of reasons; I have just never really gotten into social media. For the most part, the appeal is lost on me. That said, it is becoming an ever increasingly normal and acceptable way to communicate and even though it is not my favorite thing, there are some benefits.
No matter what I think or feel about social media, it appears that it is here to stay. As our kids spend more and more time on their smart phones and tablets and as jobs move to become more and more reliant on the digital age, schools are moving to apps and websites for homework, tests, projects and assignments. Once upon a time, parents could restrict phone access as a way to discipline and now their kid can legitimately say they need it to finish their homework.
Insert parental eye roll here
If I had a nickel for each time I heard a parent or family say they are irritated or frustrated by how much time their kid spends on the internet, I could retire comfortably today.
Most parents of teens did not grow up with smart phones or social media and were accustomed to teachers taking a cell phone if it was seen during class time. That is a thing of the past now. Some teachers are even incorporating apps into the classroom by having their students pull out their phones and engage that way during class time.
Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, MD, FAAP suggests that parents should be the teachers or trainers of the technology. She draws and analogy between parents teaching their kids to drive before handing them the keys to the car, why wouldn’t they want to teach their kids how to use the internet before allowing them independent access?
Where does this leave you?
So caregiver, that puts you back in the driver’s seat. That means you can no longer simply be frustrated with how it is but it is time for you to learn about what it is your kid is into and how they are using it.
Keep in mind that all kids are different and that each social group is unique. Some groups will have extensive G chats and prefer to communicate that way so that everyone is included in the conversation. Others will prefer apps like SnapChat to text and communicate but most use a combination. It is not enough to check to see who they are calling or texting it is important to know who they are communicating with and what apps they are using.
If you can’t beat ‘em....
At this point, it is really counter productive to fuss that them for being on their phone. It is way more productive to have activities that will force them to put their phones down and actually engage in activities. Merely complaining that they are on their phones too much will simply encourage the notion that you are out of touch.
How do you get your kids to put their phones down? I would love to hear from you!!