The Problem with Parents, Kids, and Social Media

So much of parents’ fear around social media
use comes from this fear that their kids lives will be ruined
forever. And we see that a lot of times online where
people make poor decisions and then their lives are affected in pretty
dramatic ways. But I think it’s important to step back with
kids and help them understand, “How can you be more intentional about how
you’re spending your time online?”, and, “How can you align those with your
values?” The smartphone was only really released about
10 or 12 years ago, so all these apps are new for parents as well. Kids are going through some treacherous terrain
when it comes to technology and social media use. But we also need to understand that they’re
using technology for some positive things –learning, understanding, communicating. When we do that, we become more open to helping
kids in an objective way that protects them from some of the detrimental, draining, and dangerous
things that may happen online or in real life. So where do I start? What do I do? The first is this idea of developing awareness. Learn what apps your kids are using. Learn how to use them. Download them on your phone. And then, you can come from a framework that’s
more objective, rather than coming from a place of fear and
telling kids they can never use something. The second thing is creating opportunities
for daily and weekly digital detox. Taking kids’ phones and devices away at night,
can be a really easy way to do this. And a lot of times kids will tell me, “You know, I don’t want to tell my parents
this, but I’m really grateful that they take my phone away at night, because then I can tell my friends I’m not
available after a certain hour.” Otherwise it becomes this feeling of always
online, always having to react. And kids don’t want that either. but they don’t really how to effectively self
regulate. And the third thing is helping kids figure
out their why. Why you’re reaching for your phone? Or why you’re posting? Or why you’re taking so many photos when you’re
with friends? The idea is really to help kids identify and
understand what is energizing for them and what is draining. They have a choice in how they spend their
time online. They can opt into experiences and opt out. And that’s a really empowering message. And once they’re given permission and understanding
that they have choices, they actually start making really good ones
that are in line with their own personal values.

Danny Hutson

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