Resources for Parents on Social Media, Apps & Phones

photo credit: Iker Merodio | Photography Shadows in a Sunny Day via photopin (license)

Conversations about phone use and social media are happening all over the place. I saw a piece on the news about how Saturday Night Live cast member Pete Davidson has been a victim of online bullying. He was engaged to Ariana Grande and their break up kept them in the spotlight. On top of that he recently apologized for a sketch on SNL that brought a lot of criticism.

In the NBC news piece, Davidson spoke about the messages and comments he has received, the dangers of social media and how he has deleted photos from his Instagram in response to all of it.

While social media and the connection we have through our devices has many positive aspects, there are some pretty dark and disturbing things as well. How do parents help their students navigate this ever changing world? There are some good resources available that can equip parents to keep the conversation going.

In a recent post on the Growing Leaders blog, Tim Elmore offers some suggestions as to why parents should reduce social media use. He points to the constant pings and notifications that come with many social media apps. Those continual notifications can be distractions and even create a sense of needing to respond immediately to what we receive. It could even lead to a level of addiction. Elmore’s insights are worth considering if your student is constantly tied to his/her device. Read the whole article here : One Great Reason to Reduce Social Media Use

In a more recent blog post (published Dec. 4) Elmore shares about five apps that are potentially dangerous for teens. He lists these five ::

  1. Yubo
  2. Calculator%
  3. Marco Polo
  4. Wishbone
  5. Whisper

He describes what each app does and how it could be unhealthy for our students.

More than just those specific apps, I think this article underscores the responsibility parents should have to know what is on the phones of our students.  As Elmore says at one point this post, “an adolescent brain can quickly spot the potential benefits of this app, but they do no see the likely consequences.”  We need to help our students think through the consequences of choices they make (both good and bad) and we can’t really do that if we don’t know what they are doing.

Want to talk to your student about cell phone use and even come to agreement on it?

Parent Ministry offers various resources including an article called Top 10 Ways to Tame the Cell Phone Beast. In it they offer suggestions about where teens charge their phones at night, texting and driving and even using a cell phone contract.

You can download the Top 10 Ways on the website and they even offer a free Cell Phone Contract. You can use the contract as it is or use it as a discussion point with your student to talk about devices, social media and so much more.

While there are many good resources out there, these are just a few to help parents have the conversations about these important topics.

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Fortnite and Your Family

photo credit: mikecogh Luc Playing Fortnite via photopin (license)

Even if you aren’t into video games and rarely (if ever) play, you have heard of Fortnite. People talk about it all the time and it has spilled off the screen into our culture. This summer, while at a high school conference, some of our students were doing dance moves from Fortnite. Another student, from another youth group – a student we had not even met – started dancing along with our group. That is the power of Fortnite.

If you are a parent of Fortnite fanatic, you may have some questions about the game or concerns about the amount of time students spend playing the game. Here’s a good resource to help answer some of those questions and even create some conversation with your student.

Parent Ministry seeks to provide a library of resources and tools to parents. Recently they published a free article about Fortnite titled THE FAMILY BATTLE ROYALE (Fortnite and Your Family).

The article highlights the fact that nearly 80 million people are plugged into the game and it is a place for students to connect with friends.

Years ago I heard a speaker talk about relationships of proximity (I’m friend with you because we live in the same neighborhood or attend the same school) and relationships of affinity (we are friends because we share common interests).  Fornite has become a place for those relationships of affinity.

The article also links to an article from Common Sense Media that provides a guide for parents about the game.

If you are a parent of a Fortnite player, it would be worth the time to check out this resource or share it with a friend.

Teens Talk Social Media – Part 2

Last week I posted some information about a recent Common Sense Media report where teens shared how much time they spend on social media and their phones.  A few days ago, the TODAY show did a special series sharing the same information.

TODAY interviewed a family with three teenagers and talked to them about their social media habits.  They also talked to the mother and got her thoughts on how she managed her children’s time on their devices.

The students featured were then challenged to go 48 hours without their smartphones and without using social media.  They took the challenge and then share about their experiences.  They used words like “disconnected” and “distractions,” but also seemed grateful for time away from the devices.

The news piece is just over five minutes long and is pretty interesting in light of the Common Sense Media study.  You can watch it on the TODAY Show site.

Teens Talk Social Media

Common Sense Media just released a report on teens and how they use social media. They asked more than 1,100 teenagers (13- to 17-year-olds) to find out their thoughts and how they use social media. Here are a few highlights:

  • 89% of teens have a smartphone
  • Snapchat is their main social media site
  • 57% of all teens agree that social media distracts them when they should be doing homework
  • 29% of teen smartphone owners say they have been woken up by their phones during the night
  • 70% teens use social media multiple times a day (up from 34% in 2012)

There is more interesting information about how teens not only use social media, but some of their perceptions as well.  For example, 72% of teens think technology companies manipulate users to spend more time on their devices.  And, many admit that social media can be a distraction.

Common Sense Media also has a link for parents with some thoughts and suggestions on addressing the social media issue.  Some pretty common sense stuff that many parents are already utilizing, but helpful nonetheless.

There is no doubt that smartphones, technology and social media have impacted our culture and how we communicate.  This article provides some good talking points for parents and teens.

 

What’s Your Parenting Style?

photo credit: Phuketian.S Khao Sok national park via photopin (license)

I receive regular emails from Growing Leaders and today’s blog post was so interesting to me that I wanted to share it.

There is much written about the Millennial generation and Generation Z, but this article (and the related video) focuses on the parents and identifies potential parenting styles.  The author said in the beginning of the video:

“I believe we not only have a new generation of kids today (referring to Generation Z), we have a new generation of parents.”

The author identifies four different parenting styles and explains the potential hazards of that style of parenting.

  1. The Snowplow Parent
  2. The Karaoke Parent
  3. The Dry Cleaner Parent
  4. The Volcano Parent

If you take the time to read the description of each, you may have a name of a parent you know that fits that description.  There may be times where you see yourself in one or more of those styles.  I don’t believe his desire is to demean parents, but rather help us see how we can continue to be better parents to our kids.

In the second paragraph of the article the author writes, “Most parents I meet want to be a good parent. At times, however, we can’t draw the line between mothering and smothering; fathering and bothering.”

Whether you agree with everything he says or not, I think this raises some interesting food for thought for those of us who are parents.

You can read the article What’s Your Parenting Style to see the first four.  There is a form at the bottom of the article which will take you to a page to read the other two styles (a total of six).

There is a video (about 30 minutes long) that you can watch, but also some video notes if you don’t want to watch the entire video.  He does make some interesting observations about Generation Z which might be helpful to consider.

No one is a perfect parent and all of us are learning “on the job.”  Hopefully you will find some value in what is shared about parenting styles.

Ready for “The Talk?” @DaytonMomsBlog

My wife is back on Dayton Moms Blog writing about having “the talk” with your kids. Are your kids reaching the age where you need to start having these conversations? This article will help.

My wife is a good one to write about this subject because she talks freely about the subject. She teaches abstinence classes for our local women’s pregnancy center and is always open to answer any questions that students throw at her.

Take a few minutes to read the post for your own benefit as a parent or share it with someone who has children that may need some encouragement to approach this subject.

As she says in the post, “You can handle it, you can do this.”

Great Reminder For Parents As Kids Perform

There are some pieces of advice that you hear that stick with you. Maybe it comes from a conversation you had with someone or something thought-provoking you heard a speaker say or something you read. I was reminded today of a solid piece of parenting advice I read a while ago through a rather unlikely source – Timehop.

My Timehop today pointed back to a post on my blog from four years ago. When I saw it, I thought two things:

  1. I can’t believe that was four years ago
  2. That is still so true today.

If you are a parent who has a student involved in sports of any kind (or any performance activity), this is so helpful. Check out this advice from four years ago that will be of value for years to come.

I thought what Tim Elmore shared in a recent post was great advice for parents. He wrote about what parents should say as they watch their kids perform and it would be worth your time to read the whole post.

If you’ve been to sporting events, you probably have a long list of what parents shouldn’t say as they watch their kids. In the post, based on psychological research, the three healthiest statements moms and dads can make as they perform are:

Before the Competition:
1. Have fun.
2. Play hard.
3. I love you.

After the competition:
1. Did you have fun?
2. I’m proud of you.
3. I love you.

Then he shared six simple words that parents should say based on what they heard from college athletes: “I love to watch you play.” If we could keep that as the primary part of our vocabulary, it would free the students to perform and the parents to cheer.