Getting your kids off-line
Let’s face it — at any given moment of the day, if you want to guess what your teen is doing you have a very high probability of guessing correctly if you suspect that they are on some form of social media. And yes, we the parents may be doing the same.
Consider these statistics:
1. 92% of all teens ages 13-17 are now online daily. More than three-quarters of them have mobile access to the Internet. (Pew Research)
2. 24% of all teens say they are online constantly. (Pew Research)
3. Teens are spending nearly 9 hours a day on average on digital media. (Common Sense Media)
4. 71% of teens use more than one Social Media site. (Pew Research)
Given this data, what’s a parent to do… assuming that we want our kids to get some sunlight, communicate in person at least some of the time and that we want their daily lives to include a healthy balance of physical, social, and other stimulating activities?
Here are some ideas based on the activities of many parents who have addressed this problem successfully:
1. Model a balanced daily schedule yourself. Your kids are watching you very closely and if you are constantly plugged in electronically then you certainly can’t expect your teens to do otherwise. After all, you are their most influential role model.
2. Charge their cell phones outside of their bedrooms, so they are not up until the wee hours of the night texting. Most teens are already sleep-deprived, right?
3. Set a limit on the amount of time that they can spend on their computers. Yep, they may get angry at you for setting this limit, but absorbing our teens’ anger is what parents are supposed to do. Remember we are their parents, not their friends. And you won’t be alone…. about 55% of parents say they limit the amount of time their kids can be online.
4. Get their passwords, so that you can monitor their use of Facebook because lots of conflicts start there. Yes, they will be resistant but hey, you bought the computer, right? And, your goal is to look out for your kids’ safety, correct? According to latest research, 48% of parents know the password to their child’s email and 43% know the password to their child’s cellphone.
5. Consider access to the various forms of social media a privilege, not a right. If they abuse it then they lose it for a specified amount of time. 35% know the password to at least one of their child’s social media accounts.
I can assure you that this will be very effective. Good luck as you help your kids navigate their digital lives. It may not be easy, but many other aspects of parenting are also not easy.
(BTW, if you’re wondering how many adults use Social Media, here’s the stat: 76% of online adults now use a social networking site of some kind. And men and women use social media at similar rates!)
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