The internet is now addictive for everyone, including children. Children aged eight to eighteen spend averagely 44.5 hours weekly staring at the screens and using the internet compulsively, so it is no wonder why parents are concerned about internet addiction. Exaggerated internet use can be spread over playing games, instant messaging, downloading, social networking, etc. Whichever the reason, the negative outcome is quite obvious and a media detox plan is sorely needed. The internet can be a truly beneficial tool if used properly and on a limited basis, but if not, it gets children addicted to it.
“Social media is here to stay, which is not a bad thing at all. Online access is an essential, basic part of the modern world led by technology and can serve as a highly important tool for improved education of our children. Moreover, it is an informative and entertaining medium,” explains Wilson Torres, a psychology expert at EssayOnTime. Still, addiction problems are a growing concern among parents. The issues that can occur from addiction are as powerful as the benefits, causing children to be unable to work in teams, become socially inappropriate and aggressive, and they find it very hard to socialize.
Media Detox Tips for Your Children
As a parent, it is your obligation to bring your child on the right path. In this advanced technology world, this also means taking matters into your hands when your child starts showing signs of internet addiction. If you fear that your child might be using social media too often, there are some things you can do to make them less reliant on it.
Address the Issue
Parents must discuss all child-related situations in a united front, compromise on the goals and approaches, and find a common ground to deal with the problem before even approaching the child. Whether you are living in a household with two parents or are a single parent, the first thing you must do is address the issue by preparing for it. Your child will have an emotional response to your actions and attempts to do a media detox on them, so you better explore the issue and methods before you take on this challenge.
Demonstrate That You Care
Showing that you care can be very helpful. Instead of judging or punishing the child, you should approach them with the concern about their well-being. Both children and teenagers tend to interpret harsh statements and questions as criticism or blame, meaning that you need to find a way to demonstrate that you care instead of just go forward with condemning your child.
Speak openly with your child. Tell them that you’ve noticed changes in their grades and behavior and believe that they need to make changes in their social media usage.
You simply cannot help a child beat a social media addiction without knowing a bit about it yourself. Become computer-savvy to monitor your child and keep their social media usage limited. Learning the popular and technical terminology and being comfortable with using technology is the only way to actually get an idea about what your children are doing online. And in order to help them overcome their addiction, you need to know where they stand and what you are dealing with.
Get Their Social Media Passwords
This might sound unfair, but monitoring kids who use social media is highly important. There are many threats that arise from it in addition to the benefits it offers, and one popular way to keep track of your child’s behavior is to get the social media passwords they use. Such action will help you monitor the shares, contacts, posts, as well as other information that can be dangerous or point out to an addiction.
Of course, we are not suggesting that you should monitor them without their knowledge. If you are open to them about your plans and let them know that you are only here to protect them, your children might be more than willing to share this with you.
Be an Example
None of the things in this list will work if you are a social media addict yourself. If your children see you use social media continuously and spend a lot of time on these networks, you cannot really expect them to do otherwise. Parents are children’s role models and as such, you need to be a living, breathing example of a healthy person who uses social media with limited frequency.
Get Familiarized with the Issue
Sometimes parents’ approaches don’t work because they are not focused. To be able to effectively help the child go through social media detox, you can’t just advise them on it or set up rules. Being addicted to it yourself is a bad example, but not knowing anything about social media is also a disadvantage in this case.
Take the time to familiarize yourself not only with social media but also the network that the children use and the threats they all come with.
Ask them to Update Their Privacy Settings
This is a small step for your children, but a great way to prevent addiction from happening in the first place. Check your children’s social media settings on a continuous basis and every platform, and ask them to change these to eliminate the threats.
Set Boundaries and Rules
Finally, in your goal to make your child less addictive to social media, you need to establish rules. There is simply no way that your child will overcome such addictions on his own or only because you talked openly about it, so consider this the best time to set some ground rules and put your foot down.
At this point, you should already have an idea what social media platforms your child is on, how much they use them and how, as well as what symptoms they show of social media addiction. All this information should help you define how much time they should spend on social media, which you should also discuss with your child.
Many parents approach this issue by forbidding social media altogether. This is a mistake. Social media can be beneficial and if it poses as an addiction, the worst thing you can do is take away the computer to punish the child. Instead of making your child feel bad or want to sneak around to use social media without your knowing, try to set reasonable rules and boundaries you can all agree on.
Keep technology available and visible in the home – children will probably need it even when they grow up, so they better get some access now to keep in pace with technology demands. However, create rules about computer usage in terms of when and where they can use social media.
These are just a couple of preventive and helpful strategies to help you protect the child from social media addiction or help them overcome it before it does them harm. Try to apply them all to help your child use social media with limitation and use only the benefits that come with it.