By Marté J. Matthews, MA, LMFT
All of our therapists here at Child & Family Counseling Group are seeing a huge increase in the number of hours kids (and their parents!) are spending on screens. We use laptops, phones and tablets for work, for school, for connecting with friends and socializing, for playing alone, and sometimes just for zoning out after a long day. Ten and a half months into the color-coded phases of social distancing and quarantine, screen time is a fact of life, and social media is a major part of that screen time. If you’re like most parents, you could probably use some help with managing your child’s social media. Here are some of our favorite websites for parents on the topic:
Common Sense Media is a very helpful resource for parents with detailed reviews of movies and television, books, apps and games. Not sure where to start on their site? Visit “Parents Need to Know” to read articles based upon your children’s ages, topics of interest to you, or games and apps of interest to your child. “Distance Learning” is another topic with helpful links for parents and families. Do you need tips right now on parental controls for devices? Visit https://www.commonsensemedia.org/privacy-and-internet-safety to maximize benefit and minimize harm. Many videos offered by Common Sense Media can be shared with your child, to help explain why you’re changing the security settings.
Organization for Social Media Safety was founded by a father of a child who was harmed while other youth pulled out their phones to record the assault. Their mission is “making social media safe for everyone.” OFSMS offers a free social media safety checklist for your family, and in-person or phone consultations for your family to “regain some control over the constant battle and worry over social media.”
YouTube could actually be a fantastic resource for you in this mission to gain some control over social media. Check out both the trailer and the full film Childhood 2.0 at https://www.childhood2movie.com/
If you’re the parent or caregiver of a child with an out-of-control screen time or video game habit, we recommend this resource from ADDitude. This low-cost publication is an invaluable resource for parents of all kids, with or without ADHD.
If you are in a family struggling with stress over screen time with your children, please reach out for help at www.childfamilygroup.com or 408-351-1044.