Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and so many others… these days, our kids are hooked to social media. Here are some expert tips to help…
1. Admit it is an issue: People have to realize that social media has the potential to be a neurobiological and psychological addiction. For kids who deny or dismiss that they have a problem with their social media use, ask them to try and stop using it for one week and see how they feel. Many people have reported having full-blown symptoms of depression and anxiety as a result of no access to social media.
2. Schedule a time where you / kids will use social media: Instead of having it to scattered throughout the day, and as a part of every moment, instead set aside scheduled times in the day/week where you upload pictures or share information.
3. Have social media free days: Start with a few hours and eventually aim to have whole days where you/kids enjoy the moment without having to capture it or share it.
4. Take a mental snap shot: Instead of sharing it with your social world, try to absorb the moment, connect with your feeling, experience the moment with all your five senses, and take a mental snap shot. The irony of social media is that in wanting to capture and share our life with others, we have lost the moment and with it, it’s memory.
5. Have contracts: It is important that kids not be allowed to start using a smart phone or social media without having a thorough conversation about the rules and responsibilities associated with these privileges. There are great contract templates available online on the American Pediatric Association website.
6. Involve them in other activities: Don’t take something away from them without putting something in its place. Having kids involved in activities such as sports, clubs, and family time will keep their minds engaged and their lives interesting, and not as focused on the virtual world. Final Advice: According to Dr. Saliha Afridi, clinical psychologist, social media needs to be used wisely. She elaborates, “Social media is not the ‘bad guy’ here- it is our misuse and abuse of it that is resulting in a deterioration of relationship bonds.”