3 Social Media Tips for Parents
by Peter Pizzuto
A “Media Use Census” put out by The Landmark Report told us something we could’ve already guessed was true. U.S. teenagers spend an average of 9 hours per day on devices. And it’s pretty safe to say that the majority of time spent is dedicated to social media apps. From SnapChat to Instagram, the scrolling options for kids (and let’s be honest—adults too) are endless.
Teenagers preoccupied with screens is not an issue that’s going away anytime soon. So the question for parents becomes: how do we keep up with new apps and features while teaching our kids a healthy balance of real life and screen life? Let’s start here:
Tip #1 – Talk about it up front
Simply talking to your kids about an app even before they use it can go a long way. Why do they want it? What do they hope to gain from it? This is also a time to discuss any concerns that you have. As I’ve said in previous posts, I think it’s always important for parents to download the app and give it a try.
Tip #2 – Promote the power of good
Philippians 4:8 says “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Social media can be used for great good. Help your kids understand the power it has for evangelism. It is also a place for them to practice something they are passionate about that has a positive impact on their life or other lives. Help them get connected to what church is doing online. Teach them to use it for good and look for the good in it.
Tip #3 – Go offline as a family
Make an intentional effort to go offline as a family. Put your phones on Do Not Disturb during dinner. Or perhaps choose one day per week for everyone to go off the grid. Creating some sort of rhythm or plan for space without technology will enhance family time and show your kids how to live practically without the need for constant entertainment.
In order for your kids to see the value of life beyond the screen, we as parents must lead the charge. Put your phone down. Look at your kids. Engage them in conversation. And you’ll be thrilled at the result—kids looking right back at you.