How to make social media work for your entire family!
Have you ever seen a teen without a phone in their hands? It has become an increasing addiction that is taking over. In recent surveys, 50 to 59 percent of teens have admitted they are addicted to their phones. This phone addiction has started to affect families by cutting the actual time families get together and face to face communication. All of this screen time leaves an impact on our lives more than we realize.
As a parent, how can you set a good example and cut back on your family’s screen time?
Life is all about balance
Technology is not going anywhere, parents. If anything, it is growing! There are positive sides to technology that can empower any children at any age to engage in learning while expressing themselves creatively and staying connected with friends and family.
As parents, you often worry how gadgets and screens are affecting your family. How can you spot when your teens and tweens need a break from the smartphone?
Are they spending frequent time online? Once they are “plugged in,” are they forgetting about the rest of the world around them? Do not overlook their habits. Maybe they stay on their phone past bedtime or check them as soon as they wake up. If they use their phone for more than an hour a day, pay attention to that as well.
The constant distraction affects school, work and home life. Have you noticed the last quarter's report card grades dip in a couple of classes? This could signal for the first time how your student is overusing his/her’s phone.
If you start to notice this it’s time to get the family on balance.
Always be a role model
As parents, we know children are always watching our every move until they are tweens and teens. Technology is just as irresistible for adults. As adults, we also find ourselves tempted to constantly checking everything from Facebook to work emails.
It’s important for parents to be role models for their children when it comes to balancing life with social media. Set boundaries for work time and family time:
- Use the same rules you tell your teens and tweens. No texting and talking while driving. Stop checking your phone the moment it buzzes. Stop oversharing on social media as well. As parents, it’s important to practice what you’re preaching.
- Know the difference between being REALLY busy and knowing it can wait. It can feel like you’re always on the clock and can never miss your work email because, “it’s important work stuff.” At the end of the day, your kids are just as important as the emails.
- Set no-tech boundaries. This will help everyone in the family! A great idea is to set no technology zones in the house to help the family unplug. Make dinner time a no-tech hour, no phones in the car or no phones in the living room.
It’s a family affair
It’s important for the entire family to sit down and talk about social media and setting boundaries. Make sure everyone is on board with the guidelines. A teen is most likely to break these boundaries and use their phone when they don’t have a say in the matter. (We were all teens once, we know it’s true.)
Check out SMART Girl Society family media plan to get started on a healthy balance between social media and life again.
Smart Girl Society, Inc., is an Omaha-based nonprofit working to educate and inspire smart, confident girls, women and families. This is done through educational workshops, civil outreach programs and technology and social media research. Interested in learning more? Check us out!