Since we released last month’s newsletter we have received a lot of feedback from parents regarding our post “Back to School: Tips for Parents & Teens” which addressed safe practices for taking and posting photos on social media (that post can be found HERE). Parents specifically wanted to know: how do I manage social media with teens? What is this app and is it okay for teens? Can/are teens really being targeted and lured by predators online?
These are all great questions to ask! We address all of the questions in our “Internet Safety & DMST Prevention“ training which is available for groups of both teens and adults (request a speaker HERE). However, as a result of these requests, we will also be addressing these questions and providing some helpful tips in our monthly newsletters throughout the rest of the year.
Our first helpful tool: Common Sense Media
CommonSenseMedia.org is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. They provide unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help parents, teachers, and policymakers leverage the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives, with a desire to steer them away from things that are developmentally inappropriate, and help find the movies, apps, websites, etc. that are right for families and children.
According to Common Sense Media, “Kids today spend over 50 hours of screen time every week. The media content they consume and create has a profound impact on their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development. Learning how to use media and technology wisely is an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century.”
We agree! Because we live in a world immersed in technology, it is vitally important that youth, as well as adults, learn the skills necessary to ensure we are not just “digital citizens”, but we are also digitally literate. We need to actually understand what we are doing, how it works and the appropriate and safe ways to use technology. Learning these skills can also help decrease the amount of adults and youth unknowingly participating in risky behaviors online (i.e. sending nude photos, talking to strangers in chat rooms, posting too much personal information).
Common Sense Media offers some great resources to support families in this endeavor, including:
While technology and the digital world can be overwhelming and sometimes scary, it can also be used for good and is often extremely helpful. Don’t be overwhelmed, just be informed – Common Sense Media is great tool to help us do that!