October 30th, 2019
ACPeds Parent Talk

Keeping parents up to date on the latest news in child and teen health
Setting Social Media Boundaries for Your Family
Whether you use it to keep in touch with old friends, update others on the happenings of life, or to get inspiration, social media can quickly go from a instinctual way to pass time to a toxic, mentally damaging environment. While in its purest form it can be harmless, to prevent it from hurting your families life, it is important to have safeguards in place.
Here are some tips on managing your families social media use:
  • Don’t check your phone as soon as you wake up. Teach your family to be mindful about the content and habits that you allow to influence your life. Sitting and scrolling through social media is not a beneficial way to begin your day. By implementing practices such as not checking your phone as soon as you wake up, you become the one in control of your mind and activity, not technology.
  • Set time limits. On most smartphones, you can set time limits for screen time and for individual apps. Implement these boundaries to teach your children how to better prioritize time, promote other forms of entertainment, and protect them from the negative influences social media consumption can have.
  • Have your own social media accounts. By doing so, you can use them to follow and monitor your child's viewing habits and you can remain involved in your child's online life. Though your child may not like it, this gives you a front-row seat. You can see what they post, who they’re following, and monitor their media use first-hand. 
  • Have fun, screen-free family time. Go out, cook dinner together, or have a game night. There are so many fun ways to intentionally connect with each other without the distraction and disruption of buzzing technology. Click here to see a few ideas of activities your family can do together that don’t require screens. 
  • Set rules and restrictions on technology and media use. ACPeds posted a blog about Children and Screen Time that outlines proper technology use for various ages and other tips.
How does social media affect your teen?

When it comes to teens, a recent study showed that excessive social media use is directly correlated with teens who are suffering from anxiety and/or depression. The best thing that you can do for them is to educate yourself on safe and healthy ways to use social media and implement those approaches into your family's media habits.

Social media has the potential to be a helpful tool if we are intentional in the way we use it. Before posting something on social media, make sure it is either informative, beneficial, or uplifting, and teach your children to do the same. Once on the internet, comments, pictures, and posts can never be taken back.

Being a teenager is hard, and to best help them through this season is to be directly involved in their life, which includes their life on social media. Teach your children how to have a healthy relationship with technology, and it will help them live a more positive, happy life.
So, what now?
It's time to talk about it!

Want to read articles that can help you and your family become happier and healthier? Check out our other Parent Talk articles at www.acpeds.org/parent-talk and the ACPeds blog at www.acpeds.org/blog . To receive articles like these straight to your inbox, visit www.acpeds.org/subscribe to subscribe to the blog and click here to subscribe to the Parent Talk newsletter.
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