You may disagree, but if you ask me, raising kids now is harder than EVER. Yes, there have been parenting challenges in every generation, but now we're dealing with *technology* and it changes everything.
It's our kids, it's our friends' kids, there are struggles everywhere.
We just watched “The Social Dilemma” and bribed the kids with take-out to get them all to watch it with us. It was our oldest son's idea, he saw it the other day and thought it was really important that we watch together, and he even got all but one of them to put their phones away while it was on. The Asian take-out was expensive and horrible, but the movie, WOW you guys. There were no real solutions given (because no one has figured it out yet!), but it was SO important that everyone sees it so we can be more aware of what's happening!
Another excellent one is Childhood 2.0 (watch it here if you don't have Prime) and I'd say that one is probably best for just parents unless your kids are in high school. That one goes more into scary things teens are doing with their phones and how prevalent the predators are, whereas the Social Dilemma shows overall what it has done to our society and how the censoring is changing everything from our brains to our culture to world events.
In the meantime, here's the very very BEST advice I can give you (and please share your advice in the comments)…
- Hold off on smart phones until at least high school (longer if possible!)–suffer through their complaining and MAKE it happen. Kasey got a dumb phone at 13 (a Gizmo, look it up) and a smart phone at 14, but we should've held off longer for him like we did for the other kids. It won't hurt them to be “the only ones” that don't have a smart phone, and it'll be the best gift you can give them.
- Use Bark for all your kids' devices. It works quietly behind the scenes and isn't annoying for anyone, but it'll send alerts to your email if there's anything iffy that it picks up related to bullying, violence, anything inappropriate, etc. It's not even expensive. They even have a new gadget for your router so you can also limit their time on each app and I'm not sure yet what else that does. We also use Covenant Eyes which isn't as slick, but does a couple things that Bark doesn't, such as limiting what apps they can get on their phone, and it blocks things that you choose on their devices. I'm glad we have both.
Watch the Social Dilemma trailer here:
What the Childhood 2.0 trailer here:
The problem beneath all other problems…
The Mental Health Dilemma:
- A 5,000 person study found that higher social media use correlated with self-reported declines in mental and physical health and life satisfaction. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2017
Persuasive design techniques like push notifications and the endless scroll of your newsfeed have created a feedback loop that keeps us glued to our devices.
The Democracy Dilemma:
- The # of countries with political disinformation campaigns on social media doubled in the past 2 years. New York Times
Social media advertising gives anyone the opportunity to reach huge numbers of people with phenomenal ease, giving bad actors the tools to sow unrest and fuel political divisions.
The Discrimination Dilemma:
- 64% of the people who joined extremist groups on Facebook did so because the algorithms steered them there. Internal Facebook report, 2018
Algorithms promote content that sparks outrage, hate, and amplifies biases within the data that we feed them.
More you might like:
- ParentsWhoFight.com–good resources here.