I’ve called out from across the house to my daughter to come and get her laundry from the laundry room and place it where it belongs, in the closet or drawers of her own bedroom several times now.
My frustration has reached an all time high as I wonder what could be possibly distracting her so much from the ever raising voice of her angered momma. I hesitantly walk up the stairs and stand at her closed door. I then fling it open to see what could be keeping her from the task-at-hand.
What I find is nothing out of the normal in most households these days. A very distracted teen with eyes glued to her phone. The technological world we live in these days is quite different from the ones we grew up in, but no stranger to the common household now.
Children and parents alike now spend more than 135 minutes on social media each day.
More alarming is that the highest average of teen usage of social media is 9 hours a day! The debate on whether this is just a healthy part of the normal growth of a technology-driven world or if there will be consequences to these statistics is only the beginning of the questions we must ask ourselves.
Coming to a place of helping develop healthy social media interactions is probably going to be a more realistic path than removing social media entirely. What can parents do to manage their child’s interactions and protect them and others in this online-driven world?
Try these four tips to managing your child’s social media interactions.
Download an App: There are many different apps you can download depending on what kind of device your child has that will track a multitude of things. An app like WebWatcher could be useful in overseeing their text messages (even deleted ones), photos, call logs, and any interactions on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Kik, Viber, and even Tinder. All data from the device is sent to a web based account allowing you to monitor remotely from any device at your convenience.
Get the Social Media App they prefer and befriend them: What better way to get to know your child’s interests, friends, and social media presence than to become their number one fan. Follow their tweets, posts, and snaps and get to know how they are viewed online better.
Know Their Passwords: Have them give you the passwords to their accounts and check in on them regularly. I’m sure most children will be reluctant to just hand these over, but if you start the transparency and accountability with them early on in life, they will see no other choice than to heed to your demand. Be sure to explain to them that monitoring is for THEIR safety. Remind them of the many threats and predators out there.
Facebook alone reported 170 million fake users and possibly more that they aren't even aware of yet.
Limit Amount of Device Time in the Home: Contact your cell phone and internet provider and see what they offer to help with placing time limits on data services on devices. Many companies offer special programs to help with this. Try placing a charging station in a centralized open location in your home, where everyone (yes, even the adults) can place their electronics at night to remove temptation of idle screen time and obsessive social media scrolling.
With all of this technology everywhere in our society today, removing the possibility for social media interaction for your daughter's can be a challenge. We can, however, encourage healthy interactions and keep our children safe through monitoring, befriending, having access to their accounts and limiting screen time.