Parents and guardians believe that social media harms the self-esteem level of teenagers; But children often tell us that these platforms help them find like-minded friends, which improves their emotional health. Who is right then?
Social media can lead to a combination of both outcomes, and adults can help children make smart choices online that keep them safe and maintain their self-esteem.
Although it seems counterintuitive; However, monitoring children’s movements and conversations online may do more harm than good. According to Devorah Hytner, author of a new book, Growing Up in Public: Coming of Age in a Digital World; Her book offers a practical and compassionate way to raise children in today’s volatile, highly interconnected world.
Hytner helps parents learn how to guide their children rather than monitor them; CNN spoke with Hytner to answer some questions.
Heitner explained: Children today feel that they need to accept more followers and be part of more group text messages, because these numbers are very public, and true friendship is mutual. Whereas a follower just clicks a button, and we need to help children realize that the quality of the relationship is more important than the number of “followers.”
She added: Ask questions such as: “How do (social media) make you feel? What can you do differently if you do not feel comfortable? What can you do if a problem arises?”… One of the useful things is to ensure that children have a good ability to cope. With texting, including how to deal with issues via group texting before adding a social media app.
She added: If your child constantly feels bad, you may want to attract more positive people to his algorithm, take a vacation, or remove a specific application from the device. We want children to balance their time on social media with personal time spent with friends and renewable activities.
She continued: Helping around the house and contributing to your community as a volunteer can be a good antidote to the feeling of competitiveness that overcomes you about having 300 followers, while a friend of yours has 2,000 followers. This is where we can learn from our children. We want to make sure that we do not overshadow what our children share with our own values.
She said: It may be difficult to watch our children on the front lines of technology, sharing these things, and it may be dangerous in some communities; But we want to ease our stress by thinking that children are changing the culture by being open, so we do not want to over-monitor, and there is a necessary level of support and guidance. But if you read your high school kid’s letters every day, that’s a huge exaggeration.
Heitner explained that you must realize that you want to get to know your child by talking to him, not by obtaining all this data about him. Be the person your child can talk to, not the person who follows his every move. If there is an imminent danger of harming himself or others; Safety becomes more important than privacy, but don’t spy out of curiosity.
She continued: The appropriate behavior depends on the child’s age, level of experience, and how things are going. With a younger child, you can start with collaborative monitoring, in which the child shows what they post every other day, or once a week. Over time, your child may ask for support from you when they are unsure about the post; But you won’t check on your own, unless there is an extreme level of concern for your child’s safety.
Heitner concluded: Make sure you are the person they can talk to, even if they do something they regret and know you will not approve of, such as sending an inappropriate photo. Resist the urge to share the mistakes teens make, and talk to your child directly. But do not share his mistakes or exaggerate them.