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To Ban Or Not To Ban? How Do We Handle Kids And Social Media?

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If someone were to ask what your greatest parenting worry is, would you say it’s social media? If so, you’re not alone.

Let’s be honest, parenting today is a challenge unlike ever before. Our parents sure didn’t have to worry about sextortion, cyberbullying, and online predators. They didn’t have to wrestle with the risks that can be found on social media sites like Omegle and NGL. These struggles are unique to being a parent in a world of technology and that begs important questions.

 

To Ban Or Not To Ban? How Do We Handle Kids And Social Media?

 

Sadly, the answers are not black and white because there is no clear-cut solution that embraces all the good and solves all the bad that social media represents. The answer is up to you and what works for your family. However, if you've spent any time with us, you know that we wholeheartedly believe that getting rid of social media entirely isn't the answer. In fact, we believe it makes things worse.

Completely Banning Social Media Won't Solve Any Problems.

We understand why some parents think this is the answer but the reality is that it's a temporary solution at best. Why?

Restrictions often encourage rebellious behavior.

Think back to when you were a kid. Did you feel more or less tempted to try something when your parents completely banned it? Maybe your curiosity was peaked. Maybe the thought of rebelling sounded fun. Whatever your motivation, didn't the restriction make you think about getting it more, not less?

This same thing can happen if you ban social media for your kids completely. Instead of protecting them, this may produce the opposite effect because they'll seek it out when they're with their friends or figure out ways to download it onto their phone without you knowing.

Rather than being something you and your kid build relationships over, social media will push you further apart as they hide it from you. This is especially dangerous because they'll be exposed to all the risks of social media without any way to seek out help from you.

Restrictions often create isolation.

Here's the truth. Online relationships are just as important to kids as their offline relationships. Not only does it keep them involved with the friends they see every day, social media connects them to peers and communities all across the world. Banning social media completely can place your kid in an "isolation bubble", especially among their friends and classmates. Instead of being able to join in the conversation taking place at the lunch table, they'll be left out.

Rather than creating connection, restrictions will prevent them from cultivating it with their peers. In some cases, your kid may even experience bullying for not having social media, which will only increase their feelings of isolation. These feelings of loneliness can have a significant impact on your kid's mental health or encourage them to rebel against you.

So what do you do instead?

 

Get Involved With Your Kid's Social Media.

Let's swap restrictions for involvement. Instead of banning social media entirely, let's use it as a tool to connect with our kids and prepare them for the reality of living in a world of technology. How?

Talk about social media early and often.

Believe it or not, a healthy relationship with social media comes down to an important thing: nurture. Kids who lived in families that openly used social media often said that it positively contributed to their friendships and quality of life. On the other hand, kids who grew up in families where social media was not talked about were more likely to be negatively impacted when they saw negative content online.

In other words, you're the key. Create a positive environment in your home where social media isn't demonized but talked about openly as part of your routine conversations.

With younger kids, let them watch you scroll through your social media feeds and discuss what they see. Was there something that stood out to them, positively or negatively? Why? How do they feel emotionally after spending this time on social media with you?

For older kids, approach them with curiosity and interest. This might mean ditching the "What are you doing on _______ (TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, etc)?" question, which your teen could feel is the start of an interrogation. Instead, try questions like "I have saw _______ influencer on TikTok and thought they were funny! Have you heard of them?" These questions engage your teen instead of putting them on the spot.

However you approach talking about social media, remember that you create a safe place for your kid to explore the online world. When you've established yourself as a source of trust in their life, you've set yourself up to be the one they turn to if anything goes wrong in their online world.

Get an Aqua One smartphone to monitor all your kid's social media activity.

Why? With the Aqua One, nothing is hidden from you. Every action your kid takes on the phone is mirrored in your Parent Dashboard. Yes. We really mean every action.

It’s only when you have unlimited access to their social media activity that you’re able to share your wisdom and help guide your kid through tricky experiences they’ve never faced before online. You'll be there to initiate conversations that will strengthen your relationship with your kid and give them a safe place to turn to. As your relationship grows, so will the level of trust that you have in each other. Instead of breaking down your relationship, social media will become a tool to help you and your kid grow closer together.

 

At The End Of The Day, Don't Ban Social Media. Get Involved With It.

Getting rid of social media entirely isn't the answer. Rather, take the time to thoughtfully integrate it into your home dynamic so you discourage rebellious behavior and prevent "isolation bubbles". When you make it something that you regularly talk about, you build the foundation that fosters a healthy relationship with you, your kid, and social media (and don't forget to order your Aqua One!). 

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