Communicating With Your Child In An Anti-Social World

Our kids are growing up in an anti-social world run by electronic media.

anti-social world

Digital media is creating an anti-social world.

By Dr. Michael H. Popkin

Kids as young as eight are spending more than six hours per day on media use, including TV, smartphones, tablets, etc., more than ANY other activity. It’s no surprise that this level of electronic media use has a profound effect on our kids, but can it impact our relationship with them?

Absolutely. Social media creates an environment that replaces the need for in-person communication. Friendships develop on Facebook rather than in school, and texting replaces the need to call or speak in person. This creates the possibility for an entirely separate social life for your child that you may not even know exists. Naturally, this limits your ability to influence and guide them to make smart decisions.

So what can you do as a parent?

One of the most important things you can do is to supervise, monitor and limit your child’s use on social media, which isn’t always an easy task. Remember that all social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. require someone to be at least 13 years old to join. Keep an eye out and look at any and all user profiles your child might have, for their protection and because cyberbullying and access to inappropriate content are major concerns.

If you’re okay with your tween or teen using social media, don’t be shy about dropping a comment here and there about something you saw on his or her profile. Kids are likely to be more careful if they know a parent is monitoring them and actively participating in their conversation.

However, as they move into the teen years, kids aren’t likely to respond well to unnecessary intrusion into their personal life. The key to maintaining a strong relationship with your child in an increasingly electronic-based world is regular, open, and encouraging communication. Agree on time limits for computer usage and have a dedicated ‘family time’ each day.

One idea is to forbid the use of electronic devices in the car, forcing your poor child to either carry on a conversation with you on the way to school or the store or stare morosely out the window. (Don’t feel bad if they choose to morosely stare over having a conversation with you – it happens.) It would be a good idea to schedule at least one meal a day, either dinner or breakfast or even a snack, where you sit, make eye contact, and have a conversation.

It’s easy to give up when your child seems far more interested in technology than having a conversation with you, but just keep at it! You – and your child – may be surprised by the enjoyment and enlightenment of talking to each other.

Expert Author Dr. Michael H. PopkinPioneer educator Dr. Michael Popkin, the longtime spokesman for Lorillard's Youth Smoking Prevention Program, Real Parents, Real Answers, is the founder of Active Parenting Publishers and is the author of many award winning video-based parenting education programs.An expert in his field, Dr. Popkin earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University and has served as Director of Child and Family Services at an Atlanta hospital.
Article Source: Dr. Michael H. Popkin

photo credit: sean dreilinger via photopin cc

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