I interrupt this leisurely reading of the family's goings-on to bring you my thoughts on a daily subject: social media and our kids.
Kids are social. It seems like a natural partnership for them to have an affinity for social media apps. And I believe there can be some great enjoyment and good that comes from them.
Give your kids some darn guidelines and restrictions. I'll admit...Rich and I are pretty much learning as we go with this whole parenting thing. I mean, sure, we pull wisdom from our parents, but not everything is an even transfer. This is uncharted territory and we are going it alone. Actually, we are diving in along with many others of our generation and I'm not going to hold back from saying some are just plain doing it wrong.
Here is what I know is true. I feel strongly that this isn't a matter of "well, that's how you parent..." but more of a "right" and "wrong." I liken it to putting an infant in a car seat. Yeah. You do that. Not doing it is wrong.
Your kids should have a "no more device" bedtime. Period. Practically up through high school, as far as I figure. I dock my phone at night. Sleep deprivation and unnatural sleep cycles affect so many people. Teach your kids when to say when. I know there are studies about our eyes staring at screens and how our minds are less able to calm themselves down, but frankly, I'm too lazy to cite them. Plus, I feel that a little common sense leads us to the same conclusion.
Your kids don't need notifications keeping them awake and they DO need to know that they can step away, and life will probably roll on. They need to know that not responding to every tweet / like / comment / snap / you name it...is okay. In fact, probably better.
Your kids need to know how to focus SOLELY on one task sometimes. They need to learn the art (because it takes some practice) of being 100% present.
Our media devices are an important part of our society. I get that. But like all advances, we need to remember that we must proceed with caution and restraint. (For example, cars are great. Driving everywhere in lieu of walking/biking/moving one's body...is not). And if we adults have a difficult time regulating ourselves (and we do), imagine an immature mind that is still growing, learning, and molding itself around the situations and lifestyle that it is experiencing daily.
To me, it's a scary thought that tweens and teens are going to bed by device-light. Trust me, I know this to be true, as I see my daughter's phone light up well into late night (on school nights) as it sits on it's dock in the kitchen. So I intend to start with my own family and already know full well it is an against-the-grain path. But I feel like I owe the three little minds we brought into this world the effort in this matter.
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