If you’re worried about your teenager’s use of social media, it looks like your worries are now backed up by hard facts and figures.
The recent congressional testimony from former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen supports the idea that Facebook and its photo-sharing app, Instagram, can be harmful to young users. Haugen recently presented internal studies revealing Instagram’s negative impacts on mental health and told Congress that Facebook has prioritized growth over the safety of its users.
Those who have worked for years to keep young people safe online say parents will need to step up to protect their children.
“Parents should not rely on social media networks to keep their children safe online,” said Michele Havner, director of marketing at Eturi Corp., maker of OurPact, a leading parental control and monitoring app. screen time. “This is one of the many reasons we have developed OurPact so parents can teach smart digital habits and protect their children. “
According to Havner, here are some ways to protect teens in the age of social media:
• Define digital timetables. Feeling “addicted” to social media and screens in general is common. However, defining digital schedules can help you ensure that you and your teenager are leading balanced lives.
• Block unwanted apps and websites. Make sure your teenager only uses apps and visits sites that you have approved. Using parental control apps to block apps, websites, and contacts as needed can help protect your child from dangerous people and content.
• Maintain open communication. Recently published research links the use of social media to depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. Be sure to check in with your teen regularly and keep the lines of communication open.
• Use new tools. New tech tools can help you master your teen’s social media use, as well as help them develop healthy digital habits. For example, OurPact, a parenting app used by over a million families, allows you to create automated schedules when internet and apps are not available, block access to the device for a period of time specified, create white and blacklists of websites, and even take screenshots of digital activity. Available on the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, parents can also create an account on ourpact.com.
Ultimately, keeping children safe is essential. With technological tools and open dialogue, parents can help kids build healthy digital habits.