You have your own social media account and almost everyone you know has an account on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter among others. It is the fastest way of interacting and communicating with family, friends, officemates, and people all over the world. It’s cheap and very accessible, all you need is a cell phone, a laptop or a computer and you’re ready to enjoy different social media platforms in a click of your fingertips.
Even your kids have their own social media accounts, not one, not two…but different accounts on various social media platforms. It seems so good to be true, but it also has its downside, particularly when it concerns your children. It is highly addictive and so time-consuming. Studies show that kids, in particular, are living sedentary lives with hours and hours glued on various social media platforms which is not good for their health. With the children’s dependency or addiction to social media, the question is how do we regulate or discourage them off social media?
How many social media accounts does your child have? If they have more than one account, they need to choose only one app/platform to keep. One platform only, that’s it! Consider your kids having multiple platforms it requires more time and attention.
The point is, do this in a manner that they will understand the reason why you discourage them from having too many platforms. This is for their own good, as you are concern over their screen-time, mental health, stress, and relationships. They can go on having one app they love the most.
The second step is to change the account password for the one account and delete or deactivate all other accounts. Essentially, this is to prevent them from continuing to use their same accounts on other devices. You cannot just delete the app from the phone or device itself. Log out of the one account and change the password to something only you know so they cannot log out and back creating new profiles. Then delete or deactivate the other social media accounts so they are inaccessible.
Next, you must disable the phone’s ability to download apps without your permission. Most specifically, the social media apps they have chosen to get rid of.
On an iPhone, when an app has previously been downloaded it can be re-downloaded from the Cloud without a password. You must disable the ability to download apps under the Parental Restrictions settings.
Similarly, the Google Play store will continue to give access to the app after it has been deleted. Android phones need Norton App Lock installed to block the free download of social media apps.
This step can occur after a few weeks or months after your child is accustomed to only one app. Help your child whittle down their friends and followers on their one account.
Do you know all of your child’s contacts, friends, and followers on their social media? You must. Using social media for “communication” with friends should equate to your child personally knowing every ‘friend/follower.’ In contrast, using social media to post boastful selfies and to gain likes, attention, and worship from as many people as possible is a whole different game.
A hundred or thousand friends/followers? Have them start by cutting it in half. After a month, have them cut it in half again. Do all of these until you generally know every friend/follower connected with your child. Frankly, you should know them because real friends hang out together in person – not just over social media.
Based on Age, Pull the Plug
Children ages 8-12 should be discouraged completely off their social media accounts. There is mounting evidence that the competition, comparison, and constant connection of social media is not only addictive but equally damaging to their mental and emotional health.
It is not recommended that children should have any social media accounts before age 16, but if you insist your younger teen (age 13-15) can safely handle it and you can monitor it, they could be allowed to keep their closest friends (10-15) in which they are “communicating” regularly with. If they express concerns for their popularity while only having 10-15 social media friends, this is indicative of a deeper dependency and misplaced worth on the social media account. In this case, social media isn’t for the communication they claim it allows.
If they are 16, help them maintain their social media presence on one platform in a healthy, positive way. Encourage them to set goals for disconnected time spent face to face with friends.
It’s the responsibility of parents to teach their kids to be responsible users of social media. And that it’s not the end of the world if they only have one social media account. It just needs some accustoming to do…guide and teach them that they can live without it. It’s your responsibility as parents to show them how.