Nowadays, social media is a part of the daily diet of activities of both teenagers and children. Social media has its merits. However, it also has its fair share of potential disadvantages, especially for developing minds. Parents and caregivers naturally wonder about their role in supervising their child’s social media involvement.
Where is the limit?
What are the effects?
Most importantly, what is the most effective interventions if you are concerned about your child’s social media habits?
Setting rules and expectations around the acceptable use of social media is one of the most important ways a parent or caregiver can participate.
Because setting limits and communicating expectations about what is okay and what is not okay can have a significant impact on your child’s understanding of social media and their relationship with technology. This communication is also a fantastic way for parents to help children translate moral values into the virtual world which we are all a part today.
Here are some examples of strategies that parents and caregivers can implement to promote better use of social media:
- Supervise your child’s use of the Internet through parental controls;
- Limit the use of electronic devices (no more than two hours daily for children aged 5 and over) to encourage the development of other interests;
- Establish a schedule for the electronic devices in advance according to daily activities (homework, meals, physical activities, tasks);
- Steer clear of screens 1 hour before bedtime and avoid the use of screens in the bedroom;
- Discuss with your child about the risks of exposing photos and personal information on social media and the consequences of cyberbullying;
- Promote the feeling of confidence when your child wants to confide a problem or an embarrassing situation;
- Maintain communication and preserve your relationship with your child
Children look to their parents and other adults as role models, and often form judgements about what is okay or not okay by observing how adults around them are behaving. Before opening discussions with your child on the subject of social media and technology, it is essential to ask yourself this question: How do I use social media myself? Perhaps the answer to this question will influence how you will approach the subject with your child and even modify your habits.
By: Émilie Morasse, Psychoeducation and Véronique Gougeon, Psychoeducation.
We encourage you to reach out to Children’s Support Solutions for additional support and guidance on this topic. Our trained staff of psychologists, psycho-educators, behaviour consultants, and mental health counsellors would be happy to assist you!