The Reality Facing Parents

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Our children are being raised by the internet; by mobile phones, influencers, algorithms and advertisers on commercial public platforms.

Don’t agree? Check the statistics…

  • “Kid’s spend 6–8x more time playing games and using social media than they do talking to parents.”
  • “In addition to using phones/tablets for homework, tweens spend an average of 6 hours per day on their phones, and teenagers spend 8.”

As a result, 90% of tweens and teens have reported increases in depression, social isolation, low self-esteem and FOMO.

This reality is destined to become one of the defining issues of our time, and the question we, as parents, need to ask ourselves is — are we passive observers of trends deemed out of our control, or active participants in the shaping of the solution and the future?

The Problem:

Our memories and “digital DNA” are fragmented, hidden between email, social media, text message and the cloud. Technology has produced a strange reality for parents — we share and give away details of our lives with distant friends, advertisers and strangers with end in mind, but have no way of organizing and sharing what matters most with our kids.

The problem is addictive superficial content, and a lack of tools to support parents in the digital realm.

As a millennial, I’ve seen the evolution of mobile and social. The problem, as I see it, is not the phones, but rather the quality of addictive, superficial content being fed to children by platforms that have a monopoly on their time and attention, and therefore their minds. Regardless of the benefits — commercialized social media platforms are taking on lives of their own. The content being promoted to and digested by children on social media is undermining the fundamental role of every parent; instilling the exact opposite of what parents are meant to instill — emotional stability and confidence to be active participants in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive and complicated world.

Children are by nature active, curious and confident — yearning to interact with and learn more about the world. They are not born with, but rather are conditioned to feel depression, apathy and low self esteem. Today’s social media exacerbates this at accelerated rates, creating a culture of comparison, with a 73% increase in rates of anxiety, poor sleep, loneliness, fears of acceptance, fear of missing out, social isolation and depression.

Survey results found that Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all led to increased feelings of depression, anxiety, poor body image and loneliness.

91% of 16–24 year olds use the internet for social networking

Tools that were designed to bring us together are pulling us apart.

“Social media addiction is a mental health problem that leads to relationship problems, worse academic achievement and less participation in real (offline) communities.”

survey conducted by the Royal Society for Public Health

What Parents Are Saying

Social interaction skills require daily practice, even for teens. It’s difficult to build empathy and compassion when teens spend more time “engaging” online than they do in person.

At Lina, we talk to parents every day. More and more parents are opening up about feeling increasingly distant and disconnected from their kids. Children are losing necessary interpersonal communication skills because most of their interactions are happening online.

I recently had a parent share that his daughter no longer listens to him, because “Kim Kardashian has 140 million followers.”

This raises the question — are you a parent, or an influencer? Are your kids over time going to stop listening and coming to you with questions because you aren’t on snapchat and don’t have enough followers? These are questions we must ask ourselves, if we want to maintain meaningful, lasting and significant relationships with our kids in the future.

The internet is an ocean, it is a dangerous and overwhelming place for kids. Mobile phones and social media are here to stay. The ship has sailed, the only questions is, are we as parents the captains of that ship and navigating it together with our kids.

Follow LifeArk founder Daniel Feltsman on Medium, Twitter and YouTube

References:

Is Social Media Affecting Your Teens’ Mental Health?
Social media dramatically changed the way we communicate, socialize, and make and maintain friendships. While there are…www.psycom.net

How Using Social Media Affects Teenagers
Many parents worry about how exposure to technology might affect toddlers developmentally. We know our preschoolers are…childmind.org

The Negative Effects of Social Media on Teenagers, Youth or Adolescents
Technology advancements have been a blessing to human beings; and today, computers, and mobile devices have become a…www.techprevue.com

How Social Media Negatively Affects the Teen Brain
It should come as no surprise that the pressure to be available 24/7 on social media is a very real challenge for…www.verywellfamily.com

The New Normal: Parents, Teens, and Devices Around the World | Common Sense Media
The patterns of daily life in the U.S. and around the world have been forever altered by the ubiquity of mobile…www.commonsensemedia.org



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