Offering The Best Childhood Preparation for Social and Academic Success.

NEWS

How Social Media Overstimulation is Affecting Our Kids

August  08, 2013 / SheKnows.com/AllParenting/by Molly Smith/ When I was a kid, my parents would read about current world happenings in the daily paper.



Stimulation overload

According to Melissa Williams, professional counselor, public speaker and children's book author, "The continual stimulation overload we see with social media in the lives of children leaves a negative impact on young minds regarding emotional regulation, proactive lifestyles, judgmental attitudes and self-confidence."

She shares results from a panel discussion by CSC clinicians at the Nightingale-Bamford School that reported that potential impact of social media on psycho-social development leads to a potential for greater anxiety, increases in depression, can lead to impulsive reactions in order to 'correct' impressions or comments being circulated online, and takes time and energy away from physical activity, play (for younger children), academics and family time."

Social media is anything but "social"

Dr. Kyle Pruett, a clinical professor of child psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine and member on the Educational Advisory Board to The Goddard School, agrees that social media is anything but social, saying, "Given kids' need for the physically present, emotionally-engaged push back of play, challenge and delight created by real friends present in real time, 'virtual' friends are a pretty lame and not very interesting excuse for real friends."

"The most widely agreed-upon parental concern in the survey was the new media's negative effects on physical activity and sleep routines. Most real friends at this age will keep you moving — virtual friends, not so much."

He shares results from the study "Parenting in the Age of Digital Technology" — a recent national survey from Northwestern University of more than 2,300 American parents with children eight and under: "The most widely agreed-upon parental concern in the survey was the new media's negative effects on physical activity and sleep routines. Most real friends at this age will keep you moving — virtual friends, not so much."

Parents must step in

"If your school-age kids are not complaining about how annoying you are about their social media use, you are probably not watching closely enough. Safety and popularity rarely mix at this age."

Dr. Pruett adds it is the parents' responsibility to be the watchdog for their children's social media usage and to show children via example what responsible social media use looks like, saying, "The bottom line is that parents need to provide positive examples for the use of social media. And, they should stay vigilant. If your school-age kids are not complaining about how annoying you are about their social media use, you are probably not watching closely enough. Safety and popularity rarely mix at this age."

Open the lines of communication

Though there may be no way to entirely shield your child from social media and from the negative things that are happening in today's world, it's important to be there for your child to talk about something of concern that he may see via social media. Rebecca Schrag, Ph.D., interim co-director, Healthy Steps Program at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore, says, "In this regard, social media is no different from other forms of media, or, frankly, from the world at large. Although social media is a more constant presence — compared to, say, your child encountering the front page of a newspaper while getting a snack after school — a parent's job is the same, which is to help children learn, in a developmentally appropriate way at a developmentally appropriate time, that there are scary things in the world, and that bad things sometimes happen."

"A parent's job is the same, which is to help children learn, in a developmentally appropriate way at a developmentally appropriate time, that there are scary things in the world, and that bad things sometimes happen."

Rebecca adds, "As parents, you need to take measures to monitor your children's social media use to the extent possible, but also be prepared to discuss something that your child unexpectedly encounters online. To do this effectively, you need to know your child — his/her age, temperament and the way(s) he/she generally responds to the world — and adjust your explanations and conversations accordingly."

Contact a school today!

Visit our locations page to locate a Goddard School near you.