Are kids being robbed of social skills because they have too much screen time? Instead of being “gloom and doom” as one of our experts says, we are going to give you a lot of positive tips instead to make sure that your kids are growing up safe and smart so that then they are social in person in addition to online.
Diana is a retired army officer and a highly decorated combat veteran who decided to take her years of leadership skills and work to enhance the confidence and abilities of elementary school girls. Her goal is to teach young girls to lean in early so they can grow to be their best versions of themselves with Girl Smarts.
Jill is the author of an awesome book called “The Fab Mom’s Guide” and she teaches new expectant mothers some really incredible stuff. You can learn more about her at TheFabMom.com. Jill is also a regular contributor on CBS Los Angeles.
How do you set guidelines with your kids around devices and device management when out in the world?
Set boundaries from the get-go when it comes to introducing kids to the digital world. –Diana Flett
I think we have to be smart about setting boundaries for anything when it comes to our children. I do not allow my children to take their phones to the table and they know that in certain situations if I give them the “mommy look” then it’s time to put the phone away. We also do not want “ding” distractions so we have our kids put their phones on silent mode. We do and have set boundaries from the get-go when it comes to introducing our kids to the digital world. –Diana Flett, Girl Smarts
My daughters are six and five and ever since they were infants I would take them on these long road trips to Grandma and Grandpa’s house, which is a three-hour drive. A lot of my friends say “How do you go on road trips and your kids don’t watch a movie in the backseat?” I have never given my kids screens at restaurants, in the backseat, when we are standing in line at the grocery store or waiting in line for a ride at DisneyLand, whatever it is. I really make it a habit to not get into the consistent mode of giving them a screen so that they can occupy their brand. The more we condition our brain to have to be looking at something, the less creativity we have, the less social skills we have, the less ability we have to talk or interact or even stand and wait. –Jill Simonian, The Fab Mom
There are two kinds of people in this world: the creators and the consumers. We are often consuming and the people in life are really creating. –Josh Ochs, SafeSmartSocial
Social media has nothing to do with “x, y, z.” What do you mean by that?
So we can’t anticipate that kids are going to learn social skills from social media because it is a really screen-oriented relationship and one of the first workshops we do in GirlSmart is Face-to-Face. We teach the kids how to have conversations, how to maintain eye contact when that may be uncomfortable, how to do something as simple as a good handshake. While we might know how to do that, we have to teach our kids have to do it. And I think so many times about how when Uncle Tom comes to visit and you say, “Jimmy go give him a good handshake and Suzy go give him a hug.” Well, I think Suzy needs to give him a handshake too. Those interpersonal skills such as how to be a good listener are not taught and we have to teach them to our children in order for them to become proficient at it. It’s a skill. It’s not something that you are born with. –Diana Flett, Girl Smarts
There is also a lot of value in telling our kids why we need to create limits so they understand why it matters from a health and brain perspective. –Jill Simonian, The Fab Mom
How can parents monitor their child and keep them safe?
A lot of parents will say, “Well, I don’t have the opportunity to look at my kid’s phone because I don’t know their passcode.” We always remind them, “If you bought your kid a car do you have the opportunity and the right to keep the keys or look in the trunk if at any time you think that student is using that car in an illegal or inappropriate way?” Absolutely! The phone is a vehicle. They can hurt others and themselves with these devices. –Josh Ochs, SafeSmartSocial
The phone is also a doorway into your house and it is a doorway that, unless you are able to lock it, you have absolutely no idea who is coming into your home. Now who of us would sleep with their door unlocked and just kind of hope that our kids are okay? Hope is not a course of action when you are talking about the ability of your children to be safe and sound. –Diana Flett, Girl Smarts
What should we do to encourage healthy screen time for children?
Ongoing conversations are so important. –Jill Simonian
I think that the contracts are great and ongoing conversations are so important. Dare I say, it’s like the “sex talk.” You have the talk and then you have to keep checking in and keep checking. For us, I think it starts with the parents setting the example. If my husband is on his phone at dinner time, I say something and I tell him to “Please put that away.” It’s important that we limit ourselves very, very much to air on the conservative side so that our kids see us not using the devices more than they see us using it. We have to teach them how to manage it. I use the term “It’s not time for that right now” with my girls. –Jill Simonian, The Fab Mom