Tips for parents on managing social media use this summer
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - Now that the school year is over and summer is beginning, kids have more time to use social media.
According to Shelby County Mental Health Coordinator, Emily Littrell, a good first step for ensuring kids are staying safe on social media is for parents to have an ongoing conversation with their child about finding a healthy balance with their online activity.
“There’s a documentary that came out a couple of years ago that’s called ‘The Social Media Dilemma’ that I feel like is a great tool at the high school age if parents watch that with their teens,” said Littrell. “That’s a great conversation starter.”
Dr. Dan Marullo, a Pediatric Psychologist, tells parents to monitor the amount of time their child spends on social media.
Marullo reasons, “if kids are on their phones or on their tablets all the time then they are not doing other things that are much more interactive such as running outside and playing, being with their friends or playing sports.”
He also points out that by monitoring what their child is doing online parents can help to create healthy and safe online habits.
“A child struggling with an eating disorder for example can find some really good positive support from other folks that are going through the same thing,” Marullo said. “But the flip side is that they can go to other sites that are promoting their illness rather than helping.”
Experts suggest parents model good online behavior and teach kids about technology and empower them to be responsible.
There are pros and cons that come with using social media for young people. Experts say, reach out for help when you need it, be cautious about what you share and if you see harassment or bullying online, don’t stay silent.
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