Is Social Media Changing The Way We Parent?

I’m a member of a Facebook group that is for mums to ask advice, share recommendations and make connections with other mums. This particular group currently has over 15, 000 members.  What I find amazing is what we are asking each other on social media. When my mum was parenting social media did not exist so she had to use her own common sense, rely on family and close friends for advice and most importantly would seek medical advice from a GP.

The question I’m asking is, was it a harder not to have information and advice at the stroke of a keyboard or was it a blessing not to be judged for every parenting decision?

What I have noticed is that with endless feedback from social media, mums are asking all sorts of questions to complete strangers and they don’t seem to use their own initiative or intuition. What I find even sadder is that most of the posts begin with the comment “No negative comments please”.

I’m not criticising but rather curious about how much social media has changed the way that we parent, and more importantly has it made us more or less confident in our own parenting skills?  Is social media having a positive impact on us as parents? It is helpful to have so many opinions? Do we feel supported or judged?

On the positive side, social media has created an instant tribe to help us to raise our kids so we don’t feel alone. According to Dr Mike Troy medical director for behavioural health services at Children’s Minnesota, we are meant to raise our children in the context of community. Social media has defiantly created a sense of community. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research 75% of parents that use social media use it for parenting related information and social support.

On the negative side, an online study titled The National Motherhood Decisions Survey conducted by Mom Central and Similac found the 95% of mums feel they are judged on their parenting choices, particularly on whether they are being too strict or spoiling their child.

I would love to find out how you feel about social media and parenting by taking the poll below.

 

 

 

Mashable Australia, 2017, How parenting has changed in a digital world, Reviewed on 11/06/2017 at http://mashable.com/2016/08/12/digital-tech-and-parenting/#dfNoxtFbU8qm
 Parents and Social Media: Mothers are especially likely to give and receive support on social media, M,Duggan, A, Lenhart, C, Lampe, N, Ellison, 16 July 2016, Reviewed on 14/06/2017
http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/07/16/parents-and-social-media/

 

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Keeping Up with the Kids

Sitting in an Apple Genius Bar waiting for my phone to be fixed, looking around the room I noticed a small group of over sixty somethings getting a lesson on how to use their IPhones. This is probably not so different from the many households around the world, where children are sitting their parents down and giving them a lesson on how to use the next form of digital media.

So how are parents going to keep up with their kids? How can they keep them safe online if their children are always one step ahead of them?

It might be easy for those parents that have a digital interest but what about the parents that don’t have the digital bug?

Find ways to keep up, it’s important:

1. Watch tutorials on YouTube about cyber safety for children
2. Spend time with your kids during screen time- According to Gerogene Troseth, an associate professor of psychology, parents should be “Co-viewing” screen time with their children and discussing what they are watching, just like you would when reading a book with a child.
3. Go to a course- often schools offer courses or workshops for parents

There are websites that can help families put a plan in place around the use of digital media and technology in the home. Try the “Family Media Agreement” created by Common Sense Media. The American Academy of Paediatrics has also developed an online Family Media Plan that helps families set rules, guidelines and timeframes on how much time is spent on digital media.

I think the most important thing to keep in mind is that you have to try and keep up.

As parents in the digital world we don’t have any other option! 

References:

Hobson, K, October 21, 2016, No Snapchat In the Bedroom? An Online Tool To Manage Kid’s Media Use. Reviewed on 05/06/2016 at http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/10/21/498706789/no-snapchat-in-the-bedroom-an-online-tool-to-manage-kids-media-use

Common Sense Media, Family Media Agreement and Device Contract
Reviewed 05/06/2017 at https://www.commonsensemedia.org/sites/default/files/uploads/pdfs/fma_all.pdf

Healthychildren.org. Reviewed on 05/06/2017 https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx

Take The Time to Talk

It can almost be ridiculous what we see and believe on social media. People have even taken to making a parody about how much we lie on social media. Take a look at the clip “Behind the scenes of social media” on YouTube for a bit of a laugh.

eSafetysocialmediaage26516But on the serious side, it’s nothing new to compare ourselves to others, to want what others have and to comment on someone without thinking about the lasting effect, but social media has raised these to an almost uncontrollable degree.

We see all the happy snaps on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. People’s lives seem to filled with endless happy moments, holidays, nights eating out and good times. It’s not unreasonable to compare your life to these images and start to feel a little inadequate.

It’s important as parents that we educate our kids on what’s cyber fiction and what’s actually reality. We need to teach our kids how to be objective and to ask questions. Teaching our kids media literacy is an important part of modern day parenting.

According to the Raising Children Network Media Literacy at the most basic level involves teaching your kids to understand:

1. content – the obvious content and the hidden content like gambling built into apps and video games
2. advertising and other forms of marketing bias
3. effects of media ownership on the way information is presented
4. online safety- That all people online should be treated with caution
5. censorship- what’s age appropriate to viewing

A recent study found that when parents spoke with their children about cyber safety, over 60% of them changed the way they behaved online as a result.

For some interesting statistics on parents views and information needs visit IParent.

START TALKING!

References

Iparent, 2017, Reviewed on 18/06/2017, https://www.esafety.gov.au/education-resources/iparent/kids-online-infographic

Media literacy: making sense of media messages, 2017, Raising Children Network, Reviewed on 18/06/2017, http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/media_literacy.html

Should My Child Be on Social Media? Parent, 2017, Reviewed on 18/06/2017 https://www.esafety.gov.au/education-resources/iparent/staying-safe/social-networking/should-my-child-be-on-social-media