Ever since iPods first appeared, we have been grappling with finding a balanced role for social media in our kids’ lives.
Face-to-face or snap-to-snap and via words or streaks, all are ways of communicating and connecting. Regardless of the form, human communication takes skill that can grow with practice and experience. Even as adults, we are continually honing our skills and working to improve how we communicate in our personal and professional lives.
Communicating with social media is a powerful force: intimidating to some and welcoming to others. We use social media, but as adults, we have plenty of life experiences without devices and a fully developed brain to bring to the experience. Understanding social media and the teenage brain have been stepping stones for our research. Our desire to understand the relationship between the two and their connection to social and emotional health led us to research some initial questions:
● How do we create balance between face-to-face and face-to-screen time, both for ourselves and our children?
● How do we create boundaries, establish limits and agree on expectations in a realm that is evolving and changing faster than most can grasp?
● In what ways do quality and quantity of social media use make a difference?
● How do we inform ourselves to understand their world and compromise when our uses and values differ?
● Which issues do we take on with our kids and how do we do it in ways that foster our relationship?
Here are some perspectives to understand how social media can be harmful…
Ted Talk by Sherry Turkle “Alone Together” (TED, 2012, 20 minutes)
Why Teens Are Impulsive, Addiction-Prone And Should Protect Their Brains (Interview, 2016, 38 minutes)
Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation? (The Atlantic, 2017)
Are Teenagers Replacing Drugs with Smartphones? (NYT, 2017)
And, how social media can be helpful…
Smartphones Haven’t Destroyed a Generation (Slate, 2017)
The Internet of the Good the Bad and the Ugly- Danah Boyd (On Being, Npr, 2017)
How Socially Connected Are You? (Greater Good Magazine, Berkeley 2017)
Thank you to Scott Nairne’s Freshmen English classes for creating their social media manifesto. You have given us all an opportunity to further our discussions and a model for creating our own family social media manifestos.
If you want to explore more deeply…
Articles in Education, Technology and Health Sections of The New York Times:
Our kids are not the only ones being affected:
Hooked on Our Smartphones (2017)
Books for Further Reading:
Perfectly imperfectly yours,