Media Mindfulness: Keeping Your Child Safe In The Digital World
Social media has been known as somewhat of a dangerous place for children. It can pose risks such as exposure to inappropriate or upsetting content, a lack of responsibility for actions, and of course, cyberbullying. That being said, social media is also a place for children to learn lessons.
It’s a space that is welcoming of creative expression, new connections, and heightened awareness. So when it comes to protecting our children from the dangers of the internet, banning them from social media is not only an unrealistic but an unnecessary way to tackle these dangers.
Here are some tips to help keep your children safe in the digital world.
Media Mindfulness Tips
Lead By Example
Probably the easiest way to encourage mindful social media use with your kids is by demonstrating the behavior yourself. This means reassessing your own experiences with social media and the ways it has impacted your daily life. For most adults, this comes down to turning off and tuning in.
I’m sure you’ve seen a family out to dinner with all of their faces in their phones. Well, I can almost guarantee you that the parents started that habit. By not putting away their phone for dinner, the parents are sending the message that it’s okay to spend family time browsing the internet.
Try leaving your phone home, or in another room during family time. This will demonstrate to your child that there is a time and place for technology.
Consider Your Intention
One of the most powerful ways to help your child have a better experience with social media is by teaching them the importance of intention. For most people, scrolling through Instagram or TikTok is nothing more than a cure for boredom.
As we already discussed, there is a lot to be learned from social media, but it also leaves a digital footprint that becomes an extension of them. Instruct your child to consider what their intentions are before opening the app.
They may tell you that they wanted an update on their favorite singer, or that they heard of a new toy they want to research. In most cases, however, they are likely to tell you that they’re bored.
In this case, remind them that if they can’t think of a reason for scrolling, it’s better not to do so at all.
Create A Positive Feed
One nice thing about social media is that, to a certain extent, you get to decide what you want to see. Thus, the easiest ways to create a more mindful media environment is by going through your feed and removing all negativity.
If your child is young, take a moment to sit with them and assess who they follow. By looking through who you follow and considering their purpose, you will be able to create a feed that makes you feel good.
If an account isn’t sharing positive energy or information, it’s time to hit the unfollow button. Replace them with more mindful, thought-out accounts that promote positivity and motivation.
When It’s Time To Turn Off
Keeping all of these things in mind while on social media is a great way to boost your online mindfulness. Possibly the greatest thing about these apps, however, is that when the stresses become too much, we can always turn it off and take a break.
This doesn’t have to mean any specific amount of time. Make sure your child knows that it is always okay to turn the phone; whether it be for a few moments to practice conscious breathing, or a whole day to hang out in nature.
It may surprise you how quickly what’s happening on the internet starts to flee your mind.
About the Author:
“Rita Thompson is a writer for The Joy Within, an online school for meditation, happiness, and personal empowerment. As a writer, Rita strives to help shed light on under explored topics to help others flourish and access their fullest potential. Learn more at thejoywithin.org or on Instagram @the_joy_within.”