Parenting has never been an easy task, but living in the digital age has brought unique challenges to parents. My awareness has become heightened to the fact that the technology we once praised for offering us conveniences is actually causing a vast myriad of problems. A friend we visited recently observed that the four of us parents all had our phones within arms reach while our kids played happily together. We didn’t need to keep our phones on us, especially since no school would be calling us in an emergency. Yet we are accustomed to having the phones on us at all times. If you’ve been to a restaurant recently you’ve probably observed a family at the table together, yet each individual is interacting with a screen, rather than family members.
Social media is taking a big toll on families. If you are a parent or grandparent you may be wondering about the impact of social media and digital media on the children you love. Though research is ongoing, it is clear that there can be a negative impact. Teens, tweens, and younger children are all looking for validation from pictures or posts on their social media accounts. In previous generations, bullying occurred at school and on the bus. The bully couldn’t go home with a student and harass him or her throughout the evening. In today’s age, cyberbullying prevents students from being able to escape harassment; there is no longer a safe haven. The saddest part is that many parents are unaware that their children are suffering. They do not set any boundaries on digital media and are not educating their kids about the potential harm. This is why I’ve created a Pledge to Protect Childhood. I believe parents must stand together and become more proactive in supporting each other on this topic.
I’ve gathered a group of other parents to share their tips and to make a pledge together to challenge the times we live in. I’ve received feedback that having this community has been tremendously helpful. This is a virtual group on Facebook. I encourage you to engage in the conversation or to get your own group of parents together for a live discussion. My hope is to inform caregivers of the dangers of social media without boundaries. I hope you will set guidelines on digital media and pledge to stay current on media formats your child has access to now or in the near future. Parents are welcome to contact me, Jamie Jit, LPCA at Compass Counseling of Owensboro 270-215-4000 or simply request to be added to the Pledge to Protect Group for a copy of the Pledge, which states five key areas to protect children in the digital media age. Find the group on Facebook @pledgetoprotectchildhood