36 LONGISLANDPRESS.COM • OCTOBER 2020
FAMILY & EDUCATION
HOW TO MANAGE KIDS’ ONLINE CONTENT AND INTERACTIONS
continued from page 35
“Everyone has learned in the past few
months that it is so many things and some
of it is really good,” she continued. “It can
be educational and they can learn a lot
and they can do self-directed learning.
There’s social connection which has been
so important to kids. Not a perfect substitute
but it allows kids to have social connections.
There’s playtime and games.
There’s family time with media. Some of
the best moments can be media moments
with kids. I think one of the best ways
parents can approach this is to be really
clear about the different categories and
talk about balance and trying to achieve
balance. So to some extent, we want to
give the different types of screen time
different weights in your mind.”
CREATE RULES, ROUTINES
If you are a family that really enjoys
doing contracts, then get it all down
on paper. Sometimes that can work in
“I feel like it’s really dependent on your
family,” Knorr said. “Kids like to have
rules and we are in such an amorphous
time so having a routine is good for
parents and kids and it helps with the
issue of creating boundaries around
their work time.”
Create boundaries around work time
as a parent. Prioritize, incentivize,
and motivate your kid. For older kids
doing more hybrid learning you can
give them a digital learning pledge.
Knorr added that we have to take this
responsibility as parents since we have
to take so much ownership over this and
make sure there are clear boundaries.
And check in to make sure how kids are
feeling around the technology.
ALWAYS MONITOR ACTIVITY
Technology is manipulative. It manipulates
us to spend more time than is good for us.
“It’s really hard for kids to stop and parents
to stop and kids have trouble saying
no,” Knorr said. “We need to teach them
to self-regulate and achieve balance for
themselves by trying to tap into how
they are feeling at a certain time.”
It seems that a lot of parents are allowing
kids to have access to social media
at younger ages than was previously
the norm. Knorr added that the tech
companies are perfectly happy to have
parents break the rules. Ms. Knorr
flagged Facebook Messenger as a good
example of a good social media program
designed just for kids under 13. Parents
are in charge of the whole platform.
TikTok also does that and parents can
also have a physically adjunct account
for their kids’ TikTok.
She reminds us that social media is very
controversial but kids use it and the point
is that “the social apps kids are using have
built-in settings on the app themselves,
so encourage parents to explore that.
Do your own research on it and find out
why they want to use the app and keep
the account private to protect your kid
from being contacted by strangers.”
However, this doesn’t completely eliminate
the potential, since they are social
apps and the company pushes potential
contacts. For example, you can have a
private account but it still might say you
may want to be friends with so-and-so
since they consider that opting in. And
she doesn’t know of any apps that completely
SCAFFOLDING SOCIAL MEDIA
“I want to make to make clear for kids
when screen time makes them feel good
or not feel good,” added Knorr. “Help kids
tap into that self-awareness. If online
school is so stressful and they are sick of
being on the computer, try to get into how
are you feeling and check in and figure it
out and try to get your kid to figure out
which types of activities and interactions
online are positive and fulfilling and
which stuff doesn’t make them feel good.”
She reminds us that even check-ins with
a friend can add a big benefit but sometimes
they can go wrong, too. So tap into
helping them have some self-awareness
about how their choices make them feel.
This story first appeared in New York
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