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Digital Citizenship - Social Media Use

Have you ever wondered how much is too much social media use? One UNICEF study has found some use to be beneficial. However with too much time, screens can become damaging to our mental health. Teens spend on average 9 hours a day. Just two hours have been contributed to anxiety and unhappiness among teens. Tim Elmore recommends a 60-90 limit and the rest to be filled with face-to-face interactions. This ratio has been shown to produce happier kids, better students and more satisfied adults.

Some tips from Tim Elmore about how to approach these issues:

  • Start with some conversations about slow and steady changes around reducing time spent on social media.

  • Research shows that 71% of teens admit to hiding what they are doing on social media so it is a good idea to monitor your child’s use of social media.

  • According to one source 50% of teens say they are addicted to their cell phone and many parents feel their teen spends too much time on their phone. Maybe you could explore ways to help your children to regularly ‘unplug’.

  • If you find yourself arguing with your child about their use of a portable device maybe a contract with some consequences around appropriate use could be explored.

At RJHS we have put in place many supports and initiatives to encourage the appropriate use of digital devices such as:

  • Managing our network environment which includes website filtering and security measures.

  • Encouraging students to ‘unplug’ during break times and not use primary devices for extended periods of time.

  • Learning about positive digital communications and appropriate use of devices through our Learning Advisory Curriculum.

  • ‘Attitude’ parent presentations to help parents cope with the ever changing dynamic of teenagers, device use and the social media environment.

Our learners are developing their self-management skills and are constantly learning and reflecting on the impact of their choices as digital citizens. As a parent, my husband and I have negotiated with our children to put in place some simple limits around device use to encourage positive behaviour, social skills and well-being. We would like to encourage you as caregivers to continue to have conversations around how to best support your children with their choices and use of devices and reflect on how it impacts on their health, well being and relationships.

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