This week, Scheck Hillel Community School’s School Counselors convened parents and psychologist Dr. Mariam Dum to discuss social media use among children and what parents can do to help reduce the stress caused by social media activity. Programs such as these strengthen the family-school partnership in support of student well-being. Following the workshop, Dr. Dum shared these observations:
A change in social media habits may come when children truly see the connection between their insecurities and their interactions within social platforms.
Build trust through conversation: Reduce judgment about technology and increase time listening to your children's needs and fears.
Limit time on social media from a mindful, conscious, non-authoritarian point of view by asking guiding questions that help children see how certain types of content can affect their emotional well-being.
For those parents who have not given their children full access to social media and/or a smartphone, please at least wait until Middle School years. Try to not dive into your own fear of missing out and let your child experience their childhood without the pressure of thinking 24/7 about other people. As a society, we need to keep increasing the age at which we permit full access to the world of technology and social media.
Social Media and the Brain
Teach your children how the brain creates feelings of insecurity, anxiety and jealousy as a means to prevent the emotional pain of feeling rejected, and how we have the power to disengage from that feeling by helping the brain see what is truly valuable: our close, in-person relationships.
The Value of Close Relationships
Help children place greater value on close relationships rather than on belonging to groups.
Increase confidence and reduce fear when talking about social media. Help your child create a realistic plan through which they can rest from the fear of missing out, being rejected or not being included in a plan.
The Power of Connection
Due to immersion in technology, our children are confusing connection and love with the need for acceptance, having the best plan, having many people in their private stories, and getting likes. Talking helps, but living the power of connection is an experience that we don't forget and, therefore, we look to replicate.