Combine tweens, teens, and tech – and what you get is an absolute nightmare! Tweens and teens are taking over social media, for instance. And you can’t blame them. After all, we’re living in the era of technological advanced where owning a smartphone, tablet or a super-fast laptop is no longer a big deal.
Statistics indicate that 81% of kids aged between 12 and 17 use social media. Sure, your tween may not own a smartphone, but has access to social networking. Up to 35% of tweens have a laptop, and 32/% is using tablets. Did we tell you that 72% of teens use Instagram every day? Keep in mind that Instagram attracts more than one billion active users every month.
These numbers are mind-bending, right? They sure are. So, as a parent, how do you set the boundaries when it comes to how much access your kid has to technology and what it has to offer? These pointers will help you get started.
School Work First
There is a TV rule in your house, right? Most TV rules work like this; you tween gets home from school. He/she takes a ten to thirty minutes rest and heads to the study room to complete the homework. Depending on the schedule he/she may help on a minor household chore or two. It’s only then that he/she can sit on the couch to watch the TV.
The idea is to help your kid develop a sense of self-discipline, responsibility, and patience. It also enables your little one to deal with procrastination and distraction. Plus, he/she will enjoy his/her TV time when they get to it since there will be nothing hanging over them.
No Electronic Devices During Mealtimes
Picture this – you pour cereal into your tween’s bowl. But, the young one is on the phone playing games (or browsing) to even notice it. And, if the kid sees it, there is no reaction at all. In essence, this means that your teenager would rather like photos on Instagram than eat their meal. Of course, this is not the best behavior, and you should curb it by ensuring that your child isn’t using a phone or any electronic device during mealtimes.
No No at Night
The blue light generated by screens, including smartphone screens, can affect the body’s ability to produce melatonin. For starters, melatonin is a hormone found in the body naturally. It plays an essential role in sleep. So, when your teen’s body doesn’t produce enough of melatonin, it means that he/she will have trouble falling asleep – and that’s bad news for almost every other aspect of their life from physical to mental health and academic performance.
This goes for grownups too…just saying
You really need to have passwords to your teen’s social media. One of the benefits of doing so is that it helps control things such as sexting, a habit that can ruin your young one’s moral integrity. And, whenever passwords can’t get the job done, consider teaching your kids about this stuff and have conversations. You can even do your research around the internet on how to approach sensitive topics when talking to your kids.
Or, you can befriend your children on these social media platforms using a pseudo name a little chat. That way, you can reduce your kid’s risk of posting nasty comments or inappropriate photos.
Emphasis on Making Offline Connections
There is no problem with your kids meeting people online. But, you should encourage them to make offline connections as well. In fact, you need to show them the importance of securing person to person relationships to guide them from teenage years into adulthood. At the same time, inform them about the dangers sharing information with online strangers and meeting them. On top of that, warn them of disclosing family info as well. A simple Facebook update such as “excited for a family trip to Las Vegas” could give local burglars an idea on where to raid next.
The Take-Away Message
You need to encourage your tweens and teens to embrace technology. However, you should limit and monitor their access to it. Keep in mind that the material your kid’s access can affect how they behave, make them violent people and lead to social problems. Set the boundaries – it will be beneficial for everyone.