I really get the attraction to social media. It sucks me in just like everyone else. I check it far too often. I also manage accounts for our school district so while I might not be apt to tune in as much to my own accounts, I often think to check them if I'm already in updating for the district. I'm appalled at how much time can pass without me even being aware. I was ashamed when my phone sent me a notification outlining my weekly social media use. I was using social media more than the average person. YIKES!
I'm the mother of two teenagers. Social media is a major concern. While I think my son manages his consumption fairly well, I know that my daughter does not. She is 100% addicted to social media. She is a great kid. She takes honors classes and gets all As. She plays sports and dances. And, she will resort to any means in order to get a social media fix. We recently turned social media off of her phone. She snuck an old phone into her room and used our home's wifi to access Snap Chat, Instagram, etc. Reviewing her activity on these sites is like a full time job. Our smart girl exercises terrible judgement on social media. We've talked about the power of this technology and how it can have long lasting impacts on reputation but this has not resonated with her. Her addiction to social media drives a wedge between us. It is a constant battle.
Social media is a battle in my household and it is also a battle in the classroom. It amazes me how students are drawn to the social media aspects of every app we use. They quickly find the chat feature in Google classroom and they love to comment on their classmates' work in SeeSaw. Apps like FlipGrid use their social media components to engage students. Teenagers are social. There is a good deal of evidence that points to the fact that we need to make their learning social in order for it to be impactful and stick.
I wish I could look into the future so that I could know today what is best for my students and children. I worry about social media's impact on our kids. I worry about the impact on their bodies, on their self-esteems, and on their futures. Trust me, I do work with my kids, teaching them about responsible use. I demand kindness from my kids. I demand decency. Still, I've been disappointed by them. I wonder about their ability to responsibly use these platforms given their maturity. They know I'm watching. They know I read texts and check all their social media interactions. Nonetheless, they falter.
Right now, my daughter doesn't have access to her phone. When she gets it back, social media apps will not be available to her. After she earns those back, she'll have access to them between 3PM and 8:30 PM only. Also, time limits have been set. She will have one hour of access daily. Am I doing it right? No idea! I'm guessing my way through these unchartered parenting challenges and I'm quite sure I'm making a ton of mistakes. My daughter would agree! (And yes, I set a one hour daily time limit for myself too!)
Of course, I'll continue to be a teacher, a coach, and a cheerleader for my kids and students. But I worry. A lot.