Can you remember your parents kicking you out of the house to play with neighbors and get some fresh air? Do you recall putting on shows with friends? Turning a cardboard box into a clubhouse with your siblings? Being bored? Creating something out of nothing? While many of us feel that it is important to keep up with the times, we also worry that kids today (and adults!) are spending too much time engaged alone by a phone or computer rather than interacting with others in the real world. How do we know how much time on the web is too much time on the web? Here are some positives and negative aspects of teens spending their time social networking, some tell-tale signs of a problem, and some tips to bring your child’s eyes up and away from the screen.
The Pros to Teen Involvement in Social Networking:
· Social media provides a forum to express oneself creatively
· One can build a supportive social network online
· Social media outlets offer an easy way to stay in touch with family and friends
· Social media sites offer efficient access to news and information
The Cons to Teen Involvement in Social Networking:
· Cyberbullying is a sad reality that becomes more prevalent with more time spent socializing on the web
· Hyper-networking, spending more than 3 hours per school day on social networking sites has been connected to doing poorly in school, higher stress, depression, and suicide levels, promiscuity, and substance abuse issues.
You May Need To Limit Your Child’s Computer Use If You See:
· Your child disappearing into his room for hours on end
· Declining academic performance
· Fatigue, frequent school lateness or absenteeism –possibly indicating too many hours at night spent on the computer/phone
· Withdrawal from what was once considered normal activity
· An inability to pull away from the computer and transition to another activity
Limit Your Child’s Time On The Computer By:
· Encouraging involvement in sports, teams, and extra-curricular activities
· Promoting outdoor activity and play
· Creating enriching family time and events
· Spending time with them cooking, doing crafts, going for walks… Get creative!
· Encouraging volunteer work
· Enforcing bedtime cellphone restrictions
· Discussing and creating incentives for good grades