It goes without saying, digital natives have chronic addiction to their phones and by extension social media. Our children are held hostage to blinking screens tweeting, Whatsapping or Facebooking.In more ways than one, they are victims of technology.
While we were growing up, we only had one social media -the outside. We played football in dusty village lanes. We watched movies in primary school fields and met our first loves in highs school games. On the other hand, our children play Candy Crush on phones and watch movies on phones .They also meet their first love on the phone in an online dating site. This is most likely a Nigerian scammer or a pedophile hiding behind a screen.
The children spend their day uploading selfies that all look the same. You would think Facebook pays them to do so.They populate acres and acres of Instagram with photos of their bums which still have a whiff of pampers from their childhood. To them, any event which is not uploaded on some media site and liked, shared or retweeted didn’t not happen.
Many parents have no idea how to protect their children from addiction to social media. Some are too busy in their daily work to protect their children. Others, especially the relatively young Gen Xers,are also addicted to the their own smart phones.However,there are trusted way that work in protecting children from mindless addiction to social media.
FIVE GUARANTEED WAYS OF PROTECTING CHILDREN FROM SOCIAL MEDIA ADDICTION
- CONTROL THE PHONE
Take control of the phone and install parent control programs. Some of these are Teen safe, My Guardian, Phone Sheriff etc. These are Android based apps and will help navigate your child from harmful sites.
- NET WORK BLOCKING
Block all those sites that you detect your child is addicted to .Also block him or her from dangerous sites and thus protect him from dangerous elements like scammers, child pornographers, identity thieves cyber bullies et c.
- GIVE THE CHILDREN ALTERNATIVES TO SMART PHONES
Know your children’s interests and pamper them. Buy your boy a dirt bike that will distract him all day and leave him with little energy to chat all night. Buy your daughter some chic lit books that will keep her hooked all day. Who knows-she might improve her pathetic grammar. You might even find that some of these alternatives are cheaper than a smart phone.
- USE THE PHONE MORE CONSTRUCTIVELY
If your son is inclined to photography, motivate him to join a Facebook group of photography. If your daughter loves cooking, let her blog about it.That way, the time spent on Social media will be worthwhile as opposed mindless addiction.
- TECH FREE SPACES
Most Silicon Valley executives send their children to tech free schools. They believe that a child should first read Romeo and Juliet before they learn how to play Candy Crush. While it may not be possible to have absolutely tech free spaces, it would be good to direct your child to tech free spaces like churches, football pitches, nature sanctuaries, swimming pools etc.
Internet is broken. Its teeming with paedophiles, scammers and identity thieves. Sadly, it’s here to stay with us for a long time to come. Applying the above ways that work will go some way in protecting children who are increasing getting addicted to blinking screens at the expense of their eyes, education and life.