It’s no secret that kids love spending time on social media. In fact, a recent study found that American teenagers spend between five and seven and a half hours per day on social media! This is a huge amount of time, and it can have negative consequences for their development and academic success. Here are some tips for preventing your kids from spending too much time on social media. Use these to help them enjoy the benefits of social media while also ensuring that they are getting the most out of their “real” lives!
Use The Same Apps They Do
If you want to monitor your kids’ social media use, the best way to do it is to use the same apps they do. This way, you can see what they are doing and how much time they are spending on each app. You can also keep an eye on their activity and make sure that they are not engaging in any risky behavior.
Additionally, you get a sense of what the platform is like and what the potential dangers are. If you haven’t got a clue how the platform works, it’s much harder to help your child maintain a healthy relationship with social media.
Download Better Alternatives on Their Phones
If you’re concerned about the amount of time your kids are spending on social media, one solution is to download better alternatives onto their phones. There are plenty of great apps out there that can provide your kids with a more positive experience on their phones. Educational apps like ABCmouse are particularly good, for example. You can set rules for your child so they are only allowed to use social media if they are also engaging with educational apps on their phones, too. This is a good compromise because you are not banning screens but you are making sure that they do something a bit more productive.
Use Parental Control Apps
If you want to take a more active role in monitoring your kids’ social media use, you can use parental control apps. These apps allow you to manage their screen time and lock certain apps. This is a great way to keep an eye on what they are doing and make sure that they are not spending too much time on social media.
Talk To Them about Safe Social Media Practices
There are a lot of things you need to teach your kids about using their phones. One of the most important is to talk to them about safe social media practices. This means teaching them how to be responsible when using social media. Teach them how to protect their privacy, what type of content is appropriate for sharing online, and how to deal with cyberbullying. You also need to talk about the dangers of social media addiction and how it can impact their mental health.
Remember that YOU are the parent!
This means TWO things. First, you need to model the behavior you want to see. That’s foundational for ALL parenting. If you have a social media/screen problem, it’s bound to impact your kids in several ways, including mirroring that challenge back to you. If you start setting a timer around screen time, set one for yourself, as well. This will show them it’s not “just for kids” but that everyone needs to establish limits when it comes to technology.
Second, I have watched many parents bargain, cajole and lament about their kids’ inability to self-regulate their screen time and phone usage. This is because they can’t. So you need to do it for them. Additionally, if they’ve learned you will give in after enough excuses or arguing, they will continue to make excuses and argue about ending their screen time. Establish your rules early and be consistent. It will pay off when the stakes are higher!
What else have YOU found to be useful in keeping your kids healthy and safe online?