Dear Parents, Surgeon General Viveck Murthy warned parents of the dangers of social media on children & youth. And if you think I have a zillion things to say about this, you are right! Here's the most important take-away from the report: we do not have enough information to really understand the impact of social media on the developing brain and nervous system. We do know that children & youth are increasingly struggling with mental health and social emotional well being, and that their participation in social media has skyrocketed. Something is happening with our young people, but we don't exactly know what- research shows both positive and negative impacts of social media on our children and youth. The recommendation to be cautious with social media is grounded in this not knowing. My opinion? Limit screens for littles. Be very involved with bigs on screens. Use parental controls. Be curious about your child's experience. Be clear about your values. Be open to learning new & more things & to changing recommendations.
My Top Screen Time & Social Media Tips
Clarity, Consistency & Culture
Your children NEED you to be CLEAR about the rules and practices that are OK in your family around screens & social media. Use my worksheet here to get clear on your family culture with regard to screens. Once you're clear, present your children with the consistent practice. If you're parenting tweens & teens, invite them into the conversation with you.
Focus on Media Literacy
Media literacy is about much more than passively consuming shows and being able to find favorite channels on Youtube. Nurture the conversation around WHAT your children are watching, who is (and who is not) included in the show, who produced the content, and what they think about it. Make sure they have opportunities to remix and reproduce content, especially as they get older (this can be done through storytelling, play, stop motion animation, making short videos- and more! Support them to evaluate information, and to question where it comes from and is "true.
Connecting During Mealtime
During at least one meal each day, I encourage you to eat together & focus on connection... without screens. All devices can go onto a charging station, parent devices included. This supports connection & regulation, and nurtures a family culture that is not all screens all the time.
Be Curious, Not Furious
Seriously! If you have a rule that devices charge after 9pm, and you find your kid up late surfing Youtube under the covers.... be curious, not furious! If your sibling set gets into a fight over what to watch, be curious, not furious! This mindset sets you up to support connection and problem solving, even when things are tough. And yes, parenting with screens is tricky.
Offer Yourself GRACE
Parenting is hard. We are the first generation of parents parenting so deeply alongside social media. Many of us are undersupported, overwhelmed, and wishing we had a village. We are figuring it out together, and sometimes we are going to f*ck it up. Sometimes we are going to wish we'd thought of something that never occurred to us. Sometimes our children may get hurt. And we can still keep going with grace for ourselves and grace for our kids.
Want more help with screens? The best place for support is inside my course.
Book a consult to learn more & sign up.
We are on TikTok! Make sure you're following @drchelsey_parenting for lots of fun tips, role plays, and ideas to nurture cooperation in your home. We are also live on Instagram, so if that's more your style, follow along there!