If as a parent you’ve wondered if Facebook is “bad” for your kids, some research just emerged you might want to investigate. A California State University Psychology Professor, Dr. Larry Rosen, recently completed a study and determined several disconcerting bits of information about how using Facebook places a child’s mental health at risk. Digital Trends website reported Dr. Rosen’s findings:
—Lower grades are earned by routine users of Facebook. When students were provided with a 15-minute study session, several chose to visit Facebook pages. Rosen’s study compared grades of kids who visited Facebook with those who did not. Rosen found those who checked their Facebook accounts earned lower grades than those who opted not to log on.
—Increased mental struggles in kids who frequent Facebook. Teens and kids who spend considerable time on Facebook experience more psychological struggles than those who don’t. Rosen noted increased antisocial tendencies, manic behaviors, paranoid feelings, aggression, and alcohol use in kids using Facebook regularly when compared with kids who don’t.
—More mental difficulties in kids using more technology. Not surprising, kids who use more technology (not just Facebook) have more depression, school absences, and sleep difficulties.
Unlimited use of Facebook is not much different than unlimited running around at night, spending excessive time with friends, or watching television without boundaries. The real key for parents is to recognize the awesome responsibility of monitoring kids’ overall behaviors and how they spend time every day.
How to Limit Kids’ Involvement with Facebook
Before you go feeling guilty about your kids’ excessive Facebook use, remind yourself we’re all immersed in a computerized, social media culture. Plus, it isn’t easy to know what kids are doing every minute. However, consider these suggestions to decrease kids’ time on Facebook:
—Spend more “face time” with your kids. The simple fact is that if the kids are laughing with you, talking, or playing a game, they’re not on Facebook or any techno-gadget.
—Have Family Night every week. Designate at least one evening weekly when everyone’s home cooking, talking, or out to dinner and a movie together. Family Night should occur regularly without exception.
—Insist kids go with you to visit grandparents and other relatives often. If they’re visiting and talking with extended relatives, they’re not on Facebook.
—Engage in physical activity together. When you teach kids that exercising together is valued family time, they become healthy, active adults. Whether it’s biking, playing croquet, or walking, forbid the use of techno-gadgets during family physical activities.
—Model behaviors you want your kids to have. If you’re trying to teach your kid to use technology only when necessary, then you’ve got to apply those values yourself.
—Limit the time your kids spend on computers, electronic tablets, and smartphones. Okay, this is a tough one. However, if you don’t send the message it’s not okay to be glued to technology all day and night, they’ll think it’s perfectly appropriate behavior. Let them know it’s not. If you hear the argument, “But I need to do homework on the computer,” then place a computer in the family room to easily monitor homework activity.
It’s up to you to ensure your kids are engaging in stimulating conversations with family members, relatives, and parents every day. Other healthy activities include doing chores, helping others, and completing homework (or at least reading something). Show your parenting prowess by using these strategies to limit your kids’ involvement with Facebook.
Digital Trends website