Is your child highly tech-savvy and between the age of 8 – 18? According to a new article on CNN.com this makes him/her a member of “Generation M2”. A 2010 Neilsen survey estimates that the average teenager sends an astonishing 3,400 texts a month – or more than 100 a day!
Concerned parents want to know if all this time using technology, especially on social media, is healthy. The American Academy of Pediatrics’ has the same concerns. Their council on communications and media led a panel called “Social Media: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly,” at their last annual conference. Chairman-elect, Dr. David Hill, stated, “As pediatricians who are trying to help children behave in ways that keep them healthy and safe, we have to pay a lot of attention to what’s happening in social media.”
There are two main concerns that parents need to monitor when it comes to their child’s behavior on social media.
The first concern is too much time being drained away from other activities.
Statistics from the Kaiser Family Foundation show youth spending close to eight hours daily in front of various electronic screens. This can take time away from more important activities like sleeping, homework, exercise and family time. Parents need to set limits on the amount of time their kids spend online, on their phones and playing video games.
The second concern is inappropriate behavior such as bullying, sexting and revealing private information.
The American Academy of Pediatrics encourages parents to monitor their children closely, especially during early adolescence. According to Dr. Hill, ”It’s fair to say at any given moment, ‘I can look at your computer; I can look at your phone’.” Older adolescents need regular communication about what is acceptable and what isn’t. They also need to be made aware of the long-term negative consequences of posting something inappropriate online.
Parents, talk to your children about the positive and negative impact technology and social media can have on their lives. Explain to them the dangers that are involved. If your teen seems withdrawn or depressed, seek the assistance of a mental health care professional. Visit Am I a Good Parent for five key areas to master to be a good parent. These steps will help you deal with many challenges that may arise when you’re a parent.