Dr. Mike Brooks presented at the Speaker Series last week and spoke about Being Connected: Raising Balanced Kids in a Technological World (that's a link to the video presentation!) One of the biggest points he reiterated was that we cannot expect anything of our children that we are not willing to model first ourselves. So even though the old "because I said so" or "because I'm the adult" is an easy go to response - when it comes to social media use and rules, our children will learn them better if we are modeling them ourselves!
Another conondrum Dr. Brooks pointed out was that we need to be ready to discuss with our children what they could be doing instead of being on their phones. With 9+ hours of personal device use under their belts, they do honestly forget (or perhaps don't even know) what their real hobbies away from a cell phone or iPad may be. Therefore, when you take away their devices (for their own good) it truly can feel like the end of the world if they don't know what other hobbies or interests they have. This is an excellent topic for conversation or an opportunity for bonding amongst parent and child when y'all go together to explore what your kiddos next hobby could be!
Now we know how we are using our own 9 plus hours on personal devices but we often don't know how our children are using them. This article highlights excellents ways to begin a digitial dialogue with your teen about their use. Unfortuantely, not everything online IS safe and just like our kids grow up knowing "Just say no to drugs!" (or maybe that was our generation but the rules still apply) our teens need to understand that not all social media is safe either!
Furthermore, if we can teach our children about productive media time - perhaps we don't only keep them safe but also can reduce their online time as well.
Don't forget to take another peak at the excellent blog Katie wrote about "Media Rules" with excellent guidelines on how to tackle this growing issue!
Most importantly, don't be too hard on yourselves as parents. Yes, we are also online just as much but as they say, the first step in recovery is knowing you have a problem. We can all reduce our screen times, encourage our children to do the same, and know how to fill that free time with quality bonding, conversation, and opportunities for new memories - especially as the holidays approach!
Be kind to yourselves and here's to less time on our devices!