I recently went to a parent meeting on screens. It was the showing of the second movie of “Screenagers” called, “Screenagers, The Next Chapter”.
It went deeper into the use of SCREENS, teen ANXIETY and DEPRESSION.
I brought my 11 and 8 year old with me to watch this. If I am going to be getting educated on this topic, my children also need to!
Some of the information was stuff I learned last year and it was good to hear it again…and some was EYE-OPENING!!!
HERE ARE MY BIG TAKEAWAYS:
- 41% of teens get less than 7 hours of sleep and 10 hours a night is recommended.
- 36% of teens report they wake up in the middle of the night to check their phones.
- There has been a 59% increase since 2011 for teens having depression episodes.
- Teens who are already in a low, emotional state will have more negative experiences on social media.
- Teens main way of coping with negative emotions is turning to a screen. This HINDERS RESILIENCY SKILLS from DEVELOPING.
- Face to face communication is strongly connected with more happiness.
They are all big…But THESE ARE THE ONES THAT MADE THE BIGGEST IMPACT ON ME:
- Checking in emotionally needs to be modeled by parents.
- Validate your child’s feelings NO MATTER WHAT! Do NOT try to FIX the ISSUE!
What can we do as PARENTS to help some of this:
- Make a rule that screens can’t be in the bedrooms.
- Understand and learn more about what your child is doing on his/her screens.
- Share when we are disappointed, sad, upset, etc.
- Don’t tell your child to do something differently, just validate and listen
- If your child seems down, ask these questions:
- Is everything ok?
- If it wasn’t what is your plan?
- Who would you talk to?
This is giving them the OK to talk with someone, to make a plan to do something if/when things aren’t OK.
As I reflect on all of this…we do some of this really well and others we don’t.
Every night we eat dinner at our table together. It is our SACRED place. We always share our HIGHS and LOWS of the day, have family meetings about a certain topic and use this time to connect. Phones are in the NO PHONE ZONE at this time. My husband and I do share our EMOTIONAL states and EXPLAIN when we are sad, mad, disappointed, etc. This is MODELING for our children that it is SAFE to talk about our FEELINGS no matter what!
An area of growth is that I DON’T try to UNDERSTAND what game my son is playing and WHY he likes it. I just HATE that he plays a video game. So I NEED to mentor more and ask more about why he is choosing a specific game and what he likes about it.
My kids enjoyed the movie and asked some good questions about what they saw. Even though they didn’t understand EVERYTHING, it was still exposing them to these current situations we deal with as parents and starts the open communication about these topics.
Looking at the lists above, what are some things you do well and an area you can improve on?
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