Karen Bongiorno | Teach Your Child to be Smart About Smartphone Use
Karen Bongiorno is a writer, researcher and mom. She recently completed a series of practical guide books for mothers. They give an overview of motherhood, offering encouragement, knowledge, inspiration, organization tools and resources to help mothers handle the full-nest years.
Teens Children Smartphones Social Media
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Teach Your Child to be Smart About Smartphone Use

teen alone in her bedroom looking at smartphone

We need to teach our children to be smart about their smartphone use as well as the time they spend on social media. Social media can lead teens (in particular) to feeling left out and unhappy. Teens often base much of their self esteem on how they compare with their peers. Smartphone use and social media allow teens to compare themselves 24-7 which can escalate any feelings they might have of being inferior. Without limits or guidance, they can be trapped in a cycle that compels them to feel they must constantly upload to social media and always be available by smartphones, just to keep-up.

In an article, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation,” written for the Atlantic,  September 2017 magazine, author, JEAN M. TWENGE a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the author of Generation Me and iGen discusses how using smartphones can have adverse effects on children. 

Twenge, writes about a generation she calls “iGen’s.” These are children who have come of age since the iPhone was introduced in 2007. She sees a statistical increase in teenage depression linked to smartphone use. Children are happier when they spend time together physically rather than connecting through smartphone use. The more time “iGen’s” spend alone, using social media, smartphones and on the web, the more likely they are to be depressed, according to Twenge’s research.

We need to spend time together in our families, in our communities and with our friends, listening to one another and interacting in ways that show we’re interested in one another. Doing so makes us feel cared about, connected and that we matter to one another. Our children and teens see and absorb how we connect, during their growing years. They develop and learn social skills. They need time away from smartphones and being online to be with others, so they learn how to communicate face to face and connect in the physical world. These skills will be vital throughout their lives to support and sustain their relationships. In the meantime, it’s important we teach our children how to connect apart from using social media and smart phones; their well-being and happiness is dependent on this.

See my earlier post Babies, Children & Technology for additional discussion of this topic.

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Karen Bongiorno
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