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The Importance Of Parents Monitoring Their Children’s Social Media

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — In the age of social media and digital platforms, parents often struggle with finding a healthy balance for their children.

How much exposure is too much? What content should you monitor? What are the long-term effects?

Noriko Nakada is a mother of two and an 8th grade English teacher. Navigating social media is different for every family but for Nakada, having access to her children’s accounts is key.

“I know some parents would see that as an intrusion but it’s kind of like sending your kid off to a party where there’s no parents,” said Nakada. “If you never take a look at what they’re doing on social media, you’re basically saying you have free reign and you can kind of explore the world on your own.”

In May, U.S. Surgeon general warned of an urgent public health issue regarding social media usage and youth mental health.

In the new advisory, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy called for more research to determine the extent of mental health impacts on young people, including the type of content generating the most harm, societal factors that could protect youth and ways in which social media can be beneficial.

A study mentioned that adolescents who spent more than three hours a day on social media faced double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, which includes anxiety and depression.

One suggestion from Murthy’s report establishes a tech-free zone in the home.

“I think setting up different time notifications, also having it as a reward, so after you finish your homework and after I see that you finished your homework then you can have 30 minutes of time on your phone or time playing a video game,” said Nakada.

Karen North, a professor at USC who focuses on digital social media, said while it’s impossible to know everything your child is doing when you’re not around, it’s important to educate them so they make informed decisions on their own.

She said it’s crucial children understand that what they post – or delete – can always come back.

“You can take it down, but it’s not really down it’s just less and less findable,” said North. “So kids need to understand that doing stupid things in the digital world can harm their reputation permanently and we’ve seen that with people who have run for office and other public figures celebrities who’ve been cancelled.”

North said with TikTok challenges becoming increasingly more popular, some could be harmful to children’s health.

She suggests talking about the repercussions.

“Kids need to learn that it’s ok sometimes just to be a spectator,” said North. “If they’re really fascinated by the challenge, maybe they don’t have to take part in it or maybe they and their friends need to have a conversation about what’s the ultimate potential end result of this challenge.”

Experts said when it comes to social media, it’s important to keep an open line communication.

Talk to your children about who they’re connecting with and listen to them. Also, give them examples on how to make smart decisions so they can use social media responsibly.

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