La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


September, 2011 - Kids and Social Media - focus on Facebook


Hi! So, last month I talked about teens and alcohol because it's an important topic that I deal with weekly. On the same topic of teens, I'm going to just do a newsletter on social media. Now, I have no problem with this stuff personally. I have a facebook account and I use it to keep abreast of things going on with my friends. I'll also get on there to chat with friends particularly now that my 20 year High School reunion is coming up! That's another story for a different day.

Anyway, getting back to the subject at hand. With kids these days, I feel that they are distracted in so many ways and this is just another one of those distractions. It would be one thing if this was just a 15 or 30 minute issue. However, I have patients who are on there for hours a night. And I don't mean to put it all on kids, I have adults that get into this trouble too. The problem is when it takes us away from the reality based things that we need to accomplish each day. Though facebook is about real people, there is also a lot of fantasy that it conjures up.

This article is about the actual objective evidence that facebook is a distraction that keeps kids away from their most important job, which is to be a productive person whether it's school or sports.

The article can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlink in the right margin. Below I have put some guidelines to help you allow your child to use facebook while also keeping them in reality and getting their work done.

Until next month!

Dr. L

How to be fair to your kids and allow them social media, but not let it take over their lives

  1. Make sure that there is a set time for facebook where you are monitoring the activity. If you have this as a requirement then you will be aware of the things that they are doing on facebook and you will be able to monitor the activity. This is important for several reasons, but lately there has been a lot of cyber bullying going on and it will likely not happen as much if you are there monitoring the activity. Also, your kids will more likely talk with you about it if they know that you are there monitoring their activity.
  2. Make sure that all of their homework and chores are done before they get onto facebook. This should go without saying but I'm amazed at how many kids get away with not even having chores, let alone getting them done in a timely manner. The same thing goes for homework. In real adult life, we aren't able to go on break at work without getting the work done first. Good parenting and boundary setting in childhood set the model for work ethic as an adult. Get them off on the right foot by setting expectations for your kids and making them work for the things that they want. They will thank you for it later!
  3. Ask your kids about what they are doing on facebook regularly. Again, I shouldn't have to say this, but I'm amazed at how many parents don't know anything about facebook and it's capabilities and what their child is doing on there. Make it a point to know. It's the same thing as you wanting to meet the kids that your children date.
  4. Be your child's friend on facebook. This is how you get to see their wall. If they don't let you do that - then they aren't on facebook bottom line. There isn't anything that they should be doing on there that you shouldn't be able to see.
  5. If your kids want more time on facebook allow it as a reward for something that they have done for you that you feel is worthy of being rewarded.
  6. Don't allow the computer/cell phone in their room after hours. They need to be sleeping at night - not on their phone or the computer. There is nothing that happens good late at night as it relates to adults or kids. Keep the devices in your room so that way kids can't sneak on late at night after you have gone to bed. Again, they will thank you for this later. If their friends know they have this rule, they won't bug them about it. It's just a boundary that needs to be defined.

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