A few weeks ago, Utah teacher Skipper Coates decided to try a little experiment. An experiment that yielded shocking results.
Coates teaches ninth graders who are generally 14-15 years old. She asked them to complete this sentence: “What my parents don’t know about social media is…”. The answers were real, honest, and heartbreaking. Here are just a couple from the site Love What Matters:
You can see more of the shocking responses here.
If you don’t think your children are being exposed to things you would never want them to be, you’re lying to yourself. It’s happening, and it’s happening right under your nose.
“What could once be done privately, after school, is now happening before, during, after school, and in the middle of the night, and it’s being broadcast to an audience that doesn’t understand long term consequences,” Coates told LWM.
So what can you do about it?
Here are Coates’ recommendations:
1) This is a problem that can’t be solved with more technology. We have to give them credit and recognize that they are incredibly clever when it comes to social media, and
2) No more talking about the dangers of social media. Just start talking. Period. These kids are looking for emotional outlets…for people who will not judge them when they make mistakes. We need to put down our own phones long enough to build face-to-face relationships so our kids don’t need to seek validation from peers and strangers.
“Parents of the world, WAKE. UP,” she concluded. “Your kids are living in a world that you are not invited to be part of. And they know how to keep you out. Your teenager DOES NOT NEED a smart phone.”
If you’re looking for more help in this area, Kirk Cameron has created an entire online course dedicated to the top of teens/kids and social media/technology. In the spirit of Coates’ recommendation to start talking with your kids, i’s called Engage. You can check it out here.