Welcome to Tech Talk Tuesday's!
Every Tuesday we will post a conversation starter, taken from Screenagers Movie, for you to have with your children. We understand that technology is a huge part of our teenager's lives and sometimes it's hard to connect with them about it. We hope this helps a bit!
Social media - helping or harming your mental health?
In May 2017, a survey by the Royal Society of Public Health in England revealed that 3 of the 4 most popular social media platform/apps had a negative effect on the mental well-being of young people. Students were surveyed about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat.
Some of the questions were on negative experiences and feelings, such as anxiety and depression when using the apps. Other questions were about positive experiences - such as getting emotional support on these sites and the ability for self-expression. Nearly 7 out of 10 teens reported receiving support on social media during a challenging time.
For all of the sites, other than Facebook, the platforms were found to have more a NEGATIVE effect on mental well-being than a positive effect. Instagram was the WORST - showing that it brings up a lot of feelings of anxiety, depression, loneliness, as well as problems with body image and sleep.
For this Tech Talk, check in with your kids about how often they use these social media apps and what feelings come up for them when they do. If your kids are younger, then it can still be a great conversation about what responsibility companies have to their users.
Some talking points:
- What are some of the positives of being on social media for you personally?
- Can you give an example of getting social support during a challenging time?
- Which platform makes you feel anxious or sad at times and why?
** The 14 health and well-being-related issues were:
- Awareness and understanding of other people's health experiences
- Access to expert health information you know you can trust
- Emotional support (empathy and compassion from family and friends)
- Anxiety (feelings of worry, nervousness or unease)
- Depression (feeling extremely low and unhappy)
- Loneliness (feelings of being all on your own)
- Sleep (quality and amount of sleep)
- Self-expression (the expression of your feelings, thoughts or ideas)
- Self-identity (ability to define who you are)
- Body image (how you feel about how you look)
- Real world relationships (maintaining relationships with other people)
- Community building (feeling part of a community of like-minded people)
- Bullying (threatening or abusive behavior towards you)
- FoMO (Fear of Missing Out – feeling you need to stay connected because you are worried things could be happening without you)
Families today are busy. Often everyone is running in different directions, and texting each other under the same roof is becoming the new normal. To keep our sanity, and our face-to-face conversations alive, here are some family rules that could help:
- Device-free dinners - this leads to engaging conversations, especially when we don’t have easy access to answering questions about topics that come up.
- No phones during homework or study time
- Phone-free bedrooms at sleeping time—this is exactly what it sounds like. No phones, tablets, TV’s or computers in the bedroom when the lights go out.
- Leave your phone at home during family outings. You will get a lot of resistance to this one, but stand firm. The kids will concede. Not only does this promote a more intimate family bonding experience, but it decreases their, and our, compulsion to always check our devices. This helps when they are back in school and have the urge to check during a boring lecture.
For this Tech Talk Tuesday use these four rules as a conversation starter, then come up with a few rules of your own that will work for your family. Suggested talking points are:
- Phones at the dinner table—yes or no?
- Devices on the night stand—Yes, they are handy alarm clocks but do you think you will have a more restful sleep without a screen under your pillow?
- Simpler study time—Some would argue having a phone nearby is necessary for retrieving quick information but try studying without it. It’s been proven that your focus and retention will improve without the glaring distraction.
- Device-free family outings —This one will take a little while to get used to, but challenge each other to come up with phone-free outing ideas everyone will enjoy.