Dealing with smart phones and social media has become part of parenting teenagers. Below is some information that may be helpful.

What is happening on social media and when kids are on their phones?

There are many great things that can be accomplished now that cell phones are abundant. But there are also drawbacks to being constantly connected. Some things parents should know about what it could mean for your child to have a cell phone include:

  • Research suggests that teenagers spend a lot of time on their phones.
  • Professor Jean Twenge has highlighted a correlation between heavy cell phone usage and mental health issues in this video and this article.
  • Being constantly connected with a smart phones presents opportunities for both sexting and sexual extortion, both which can have negative mental health impacts (feelings of shame and embarrassment, etc.), plus may have legal consequences (possession of child pornography, etc.). What is more, once these images are out in public, they are very hard to contain and may be view-able to future employers.
  • Having a cell phone in your room at night can have an negative impact on sleep quality.
    • According to Health Canada, teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep. Not getting this amount of sleep can lead to higher levels of stress and poor mental health.
  • Social media app designers know that young people (and adults) are persuadable and leverage this to keep them on their phones. Researchers are beginning to notice addiction-type behaviours involving youth and cell phones.

It is becoming increasingly clear that being constantly connected with a smart phone has some risks associated with it.

If your child has a device they need your help navigating this world!

Parents are setting guidelines

Did you know that more and more parents are coming up with plans to address cell phones? Parents in Martensville have shared that they are:

  • Checking their children’s phones. They have made it clear that when their child gets a phone, the parents always has the right to check that phone. They check to help their child deal with the issues having a smart phone can create.
  • Making it an expectation that cell phones are NOT in their child’s bedroom at night.
  • Making it an expectation that there are cell phone and device free times in their homes. Many parents are making it a rule that devices are not allowed at the table for meals. 
  • Becoming aware of how to set parent controls on their child’s device. (You can do an search to find how to do this, or check out the links below.)

More Information

There are a number of reputable sources for information involving youth and cell phones/social media. Some that may be of interest are: