It’s the summer and now’s the time that kids are going to be glued to their phones. Children that spend in excess of a few hours a day doing non-academic or enriching things like playing violent video games or working to gain followers on social media run the risk of over exposure.
Does your child need a social media time-out? If they’re exhibiting any of these signs, then the answer is a resounding “yes”.
7 signs your child is spending too much time online
They exhibit excessive irritability. Does your child become irritable when they have to engage with people online? Often this is a result of spending too much time in the online world. When they are interrupted, they act out.
Your child disappears or withdraws. If you see your child disappear quietly into their bedroom or find a quiet spot out of sight so they can be alone and on social media, they need a social media time out.
Their grades drop or they shift their activities. Kids who spend too much time online start to shy away from their normal interests and patterns, activities fall by the wayside and grades drop.
Children develop high levels of anxiety, stress or become overwhelmed easily. When kids spend too much time online, they begin to buckle under the pressure of constantly trying to meet the demands of everyone in their online and real worlds, resulting in a loss of downtime.
Kids act superficially mature. Scroll through Facebook and it’s easy to see that kids are exposed to mature content regularly. Often, they are too young to comprehend the significance of what they are seeing and reading. An 8-year-old may have access to the news and talk about it, but he or she doesn’t recognize the impact of a situation. When Notre Dame was burning, I had an 8-year-old come and talk to me about it, but the conversation was void of emotion because they had a lack of understanding of what was taking place.
Your child gains or loses weight. If your child is spending too much time online and needs a social media time out, there’s a good chance that you will notice weight gain or weight loss. This happens because kids don’t eat properly. They may be skipping meals, or may be influenced by the ads on social media for food. In fact, plenty of fast food companies utilize social media to pull in young consumers, resulting in a change in food choices.
You notice a technology related attention deficit. Put your child in a social media time out if he or she begins to exhibit signs that their attention is weaning. Social media has taught kids to have only short spans of attention and to keep scrolling through, so in the real world it’s hard for them to keep or maintain attention offline.
6 ways parents can put kids in a social media time out
Educate your kids on the “why” behind the signs and symptoms of spending too much time online. Kids don’t see what adults see regarding their behavior. Point it out and talk about it, empowering them to better understand what’s happening. As a parent, it’s our job to teach kids about what’s healthy and safe, especially in the online world; it’s no different from teaching them how to look both ways before they cross the street.
Whittle down their followers. Reduce the time your child spends online by removing any distractions and extra notifications, like people they don’t know in real life.
Delete apps. Allow your child to keep their technology, but remove problematic apps that are impacting your child.
Employ monitoring apps. Even though monitoring apps are becoming more difficult to obtain in the app store, you can still find and install them on phones and tablets.
Take the device away. This is extreme, but they can’t access what they don’t have.
Enroll in the Digital Citizen Academy Home Program. Led by me, I provide the tools and techniques necessary to navigate the online world for children and keep them safe and healthy.