This is the age of the social media revolution, make no mistake about it. Unfortunately, this craze isn’t just for celebrities who wish to remain relevant, nor is it just for adults looking to keep in touch with friends and family members who live across the country. The social media epidemic is affecting our children as well. And in ways that you may never have imagined.
With the vast popularity of social media platforms such as KiK, Snapchat and Instagram, children as young as 10 are being targeted. Unfortunately, programs that give your children the feeling of anonymity also open them up to cyber-bullying and to online predators. And while these cases certainly have a negative effect on our children and their self-esteem and emotional well being, what about when it comes to their education?
It seems as though everyone is going towards tablets and laptops these days. As a matter of fact, some elementary schools have begun issuing iPads to their students. However, what happens when those school-issued devices (or even those devices purchased by their parents) begin to get in the way of their educations?
For instance, instead of studying for the big test coming up, do you find your children are more concerned with their online image? What if they would rather make it look like they are “cool” by posting selfies and chatting with their friends than spend that time studying the material given to them? Or, instead of paying attention in class and taking notes on what the teacher is attempting to teach, they would rather update their Facebook status, missing out on critical information?
Due to the availability of social media, and the focus on it, their grades begin to suffer simply because their focus isn’t where it ought to be. But now that we know there is a problem, how do we change it?
For starters, we need to be aware of what our children are doing on social media at all times. We need to take an active role in their online presence-what sites they belong to, what content they are posting and perhaps most importantly, knowing who they are speaking to and at what times they are online.
As with all good things, social media needs to be handled in moderation. We need to limit children’s time on their various devices and make sure that as their role models, we are setting a good example for them by limiting our own device usage. Encourage your children to make mature choices when it comes to their online time; allow them the chance to correct their behaviors if need be and show that they are capable of putting their education before frivolous pursuits.
In the end, it is up to you to decide what is best for your family, and if taking all devices (including your own) and locking them up during certain hours, or after a certain time, is the key to success, then do not be afraid to do it!