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Children, Technology & Social Media: How Much, How Often, & How Soon

A New York Times article revealed that many CEOs in the high tech industry LIMIT their own children's exposure to technology. Steve Jobs did not give his children iPads, The founder of Twitter (Evan Williams), gives his children actual BOOKS not iPads. Why, you may wonder? These high tech executives and innovators are afraid their kids, like anyone else's kids, will become addicted to technology.

I am often asked for my professional opinion regarding children's use of social media and technology. I have no hard fast rules since every child and family is different and parents have ideas of their own (as well as technology addictions of their own) regarding their children's use of technology.

When deciding how soon to provide a child with a tablet like an iPad or a smart phone, I suggest that parents become very familiar with how the device(s) work -there are still parents who do not own a smart phone themselves, yet their 10 year old has the latest iPhone. How will the device enhance your child's life and how much time will you allow them to spend on their tablet or phone for noneducational purposes or on social media? How will you monitor your child's use of the technology?

I recommend parents oversee what apps the child chooses, keep an eye on their texting and internet use, do not allow unmonitored email, Facebook, Twitter accounts, or Snapchat for children or teens. Most importantly, if you do allow your child to use the latest technology and social media, you must not only closely monitor their use, but you MUST stay current with what the latest technology is and its capabilities, what the popular and trendy apps for your child's age group are, and what his or her peers and social group are doing with their smart devices.Explicit pornography is available for your child to view on Youtube and is free for anyone, including your child, to view from a simple Google search from their phone or tablet. Consider using one or more parental controls on their devices but be aware that many children know how to bypass them, and manipulate their devices to hide their activities. Set a Google alert for your child's name to catch unauthorized use of their name on the internet.(www.Google.com/alerts). Keep communications open with your child about your concerns and listen to theirs. The need to protect your young child or teen from sexual predators, stalkers, and other forms of exploitation is greater than ever.

Technology and social media are undeniably an integral part of American culture. Providing your child with supervised use and ensuring they maintain a balance  of time spent with electronics and technology, books, nature, sports, creative games and crafts, will protect your child from developing addictive and unhealthy habits.

See the NY Times article here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/fashion/steve-jobs-apple-was-a-low-tech-parent.html?_r=0

If you have concerns about your child's technology or social media use, or need help deciding the parameters of their use, I may be reached at 908-500-7295 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

photo credit: Copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_tatyanagl'

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