Last month, a story in the media about a social media challenge directed at children and young adults, called the “Momo Challenge,” created unease in parents throughout the country. The challenge turned out to be a social media hoax and no reports of children participating in the challenge actually surfaced – but they were still aware of it and were discussing it among friends.

Several questions and concerns in parents arose from this internet scare. Do I have a firm understanding of what my child is actually viewing online? How do I successfully and healthily monitor my child’s social media and internet usage? Below, we offer a few tips on how parents can become more in touch with and supervise their child’s digital footprint.

Establish open lines of communication

It’s important to sit down with children to explain what’s out there and the harmful impact some online content can have on them. Don’t be afraid to have these hard conversations. Children experience fewer damaging effects when they’ve been taught basic media literacy skills.

Make technology use a privilege

Make it known that your children have to earn their screen time. This may be difficult for them to understand, but stay firm in this discipline – lessons learned from delaying gratification and controlling the impulse to use technology are essential for healthy development.

Set clear guidelines

Establish rules that will help your children develop healthy habits when it comes to internet usage. Where can your child use technology? When can they use technology? Which sites are going to be blocked? Set up a meeting to discuss these concerns as a family – and let your children give input! You’ll probably need to have a few of these meetings throughout the years as your child grows older and more mature.

Raising a child can be hard, especially in this digital era. If you would like assistance with talking through these kinds of tough issues, you might be interested in learning more about our Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative Services. South Bay strives to provide the proper programs, certified staff members and clinicians for the perfect combination of professional therapy and guidance.

For more information, contact us at 508-521-2200 or click here.