Social Media and Your Child Part 2

By Cara Miller, CA Director of Technology

On Tuesday we discussed what social media is, today we will discuss the benefits and effects of social media.

How does Social Media make them feel?

For most users of social media, online social life and offline social life are one and the same and include similar highs and lows. The unique difference with social media is users have instant reach to a wide audience very quickly, giving kids an opportunity to magnify their lives in a way that’s different from the offline experience. Social media platforms are central to every aspect of teens’ lives, from how they stay in touch with friends, determine the popular trends and even engage with such topics as politics, music and fashion.

Are their benefits to Social Media?

Many children use social media as a means of personal creativity or expression. It allows for connections with those of similar interests.

It allows them the ability to stay in touch with friends and provides easy and instant communication. Social media allows for instant information on news, sports and other social events.

This influx of information could provide a great opportunity to have meaningful conversations with your kids about what they view and watch. Parents can make it an opportunity to discuss happenings and share how they feel about topics they have seen or read about on social media.

There are also teachable moments in how to deal with digital drama. Digital drama isn’t all that different than normal social drama, but the lessons can begin early on how to properly respond to comments or posts online. Teaching children that comments and posts created without proper evaluation of the widespread audience can be one that saves potential digital drama or harm somewhere down the road.

How much is too much?

There are no easy answers when trying to determine how much screen time or social media is enough. It really depends on the child. If your child will put the device down to pursue a more interesting hobby you are probably teaching a good balance. Less time on social media may be beneficial for some, especially becoming more intentional in how they use social media. Following people who enrich them, and adjusting notifications so that devices become less distracting, are all steps in the right direction.

Social networking provides a convenient and compelling supplement to personal relationships in life, but when we use social networks as a substitute for relationships we face the risk of voiding our lives of meaningful and valuable connections.

The answer is not a one-size-fits-all for all children when it comes to screen time and/or social media. And, the truth is, there is no exact science in raising aware, thoughtful, empathetic and self-confident children. Certainly, modeling these behaviors in our own lives is a wonderful start. There is no doubt that our children are exposed to social media, both good and bad, but the key seems to be in finding a way to ‘teach’ them how to handle the information and to process it in a healthy way.

As always, if you would like more information in how to deal with your child and social media as well as other technology issues do not hesitate to contact me at




Social Media and Your Child Part 1

By Cara Miller, CA Director of Technology

Social Media and your child

What seems like only yesterday, parents were concerned that their children were watching too much television or playing Nintendo too much. Those might still be a concern for some, but tides of media have shifted from traditional television watching to instant media via mobile devices. The landscape of media, specifically social media, make people feel connected and disconnected all at the same time. Is the exposure to social media harmful to your child, or just part of the daily landscape?

What is Social Media?

Social media is a generic term for a variety of apps used to interact and communicate with others online. Parents face unprecedented challenges as they raise children in a society that is inundated with instant communication. According to a research study by Common Sense Media in early 2018, amongst 13 to18 year old children the most popular social media tools are: Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Each of these social media outlets offers a different way to share information, connect with friends, or collaborate, but it’s important for parents to note that new apps are built and put onto the web every day.

I gave them a device, now what?

If you have wrestled with questions about the effects of smartphones and social media on teens you are not alone. The moment you hand your child a cell phone or tablet you are making a choice to potentially expose them to the rapid world of media information. Honestly, denying the presence of a technology-rich society won’t make it go away. There’s a great deal of responsibility in having a mobile device no matter what the age. Of course, there are measures and parental controls available to reduce the exposure to the undesirables.

If you have a teen driver, the choice is almost one of necessity. In the above referenced research study by Common Sense Media, twice as many 13-to 17-year olds own a smartphone today than just 6 years ago (41% in 2012 compared to 89% in 2018.). During that same period, the percentage of teens who use social media multiple times a day also doubled, from 34% to 70%.

Once your child has a smart device, it’s up to you to train them on how to safely use it.  It is important for you to do your research regarding the above mentioned apps and many others.  Educate yourself on the uses of these apps and to educate your child on the positives and negatives of the apps.  In the coming blog posts, I will discuss Social Media on many levels.  Check back Thursday for part 2.

Begin Your Journey.