Parents, if you think your child is not on Facebook or at the very least, has an email account, I am sad to say that you may be wrong. Most kids, over the age of 9 that I speak to have at least one email account, one that mom and dad know about and one that they created; either at a friends house or at school. Kids today are SAAVY when it comes to the world of blogging, face-booking, and googling, they are even more so when it comes from hiding it from their parents. 90% of third graders I have worked with have a cell phone, use the phrase “I’ll just Google it”, and if they don’t have a facebook account, the chances are the child sitting next to them on the bus has one. I have worked with hundreds of kids in the past few years, all of whom have faced challenges with managing the overwhelming feelings that come with having Internet access. Whether it be cyberbulling, compulsive texting, or feelings of sadness because no one “commented on their status.” Children today are more at risk for depression and low-self esteem with the increase use of technology.
A recent study found a correlation between Facebook and depression in children (read it here) Dr. Gwenn O’Keeffe, lead author of the American Academy of Pediatrics social media guidelines, told the Associated Press, that Facebook presents a special challenge for kids struggling with their own self-esteem. As the AP summed it up :With in-your-face friends’ tallies, status updates and photos of happy-looking people having great times, Facebook pages can make some kids feel even worse if they think they don’t measure up.
So parents, be assured, that your kids may know more than you do when it comes to using the computer, however remember YOU ARE THE BOSS, technology is not a RIGHT it is a PRIVILEGE, that you control. Make sure you are up-to-date with current trends in Internet use, have your child take a class on Internet safety, and have open communication with your child on how much internet they consumed today. Also ask your school’s PTA to hire someone who specializes in media awareness to come in and speak to both kids and parents, I have been contracted by national organizations and local schools many times this year to educate parents on whats really going on behind the screens and behind closed doors. It empowers and educates kids and their parents.
Here are a few great links :
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