These days, it’s common for kids to grow up with their faces glued to an iPad. Everywhere a parent looks, there will be a child hunched over watching their favorite YouTubers or scrolling through short form videos on TikTok.
Kids are more plugged-in than ever before, which can spell out danger. While social media started innocently enough as a place to connect with friends, the side effects of social media addiction can be extreme.
When a child overuses social media, they can develop self-esteem and body-image ssues, experience cyberbullying and more. To help parents help kids develop healthy social media habits, we outlined several tips below.
The first way to protect your kids from social media is to educate them. Watch documentaries with them about the dangers of social media addiction. Let them understand the possible side effects of overconsumption, such as:
The more knowledgeable your child is the less likely they are to get swept up in the storm of social media addiction.
Most phones have features for parents to set screen time boundaries for their kids. You can even go into individual apps to set their screen times. So if you want your teen to be able to use their calculator for math homework, you don’t need to set a time limit on that.
But if your teen uses Instagram or TikTok, you may want to set screen time limits to something like an hour a day to prevent overconsumption. You may also want to restrict your kids from bringing the phone to bed, since that can cause insomnia.
If you teach your kids about the dangers of technology but don’t adhere to your own advice, they might not take you seriously. Particularly, young kids are like sponges and can easily pick on the habits, both good and bad, of their parents.
Practice moderate screen time usage yourself to help your kids do the same.
The more engaging activities your children partake in, the less time they’ll have to be browsing social media. Oftentimes, the only reason someone opens up socials on their phone in the first place is because they’re bored.
You may want to enroll your child in sports, help them find an instrument they like or teach them how to paint. There is no shortage of activities that your kids can do that are more productive than swiping up and down on Social Media apps.
Once you find the things your child is passionate about, it will become a whole lot easier to keep them from overindulging on their phones.
Nowadays, you can invest in a “phone jail” that keeps your phones locked up for a predetermined amount of time. You may want to have your family put their phones in “jail” for family dinners, before they go to sleep or as punishment if your kids have acted up.
The phone jail can also be convenient if you’re struggling with social media addiction yourself. If you feel like there’s something else you should be doing but you don’t trust yourself around your iPhone, simply lock it up for a couple of hours to free your mind.
Raising kids in a society built around technology can be difficult. Every day, new devices come out with their own unique dangers. Social media is a particularly scary tool that kids often overuse. However, if you do your due diligence by educating your kids, keeping them active and being a great role model, you can help them develop healthy habits.
For more information on how to protect your kids from the dangers of social media, check out the infographic below.