Changing our Thinking on how Children use Social Media During COVID-19 (Video Tech Tip)

As parents, we restrict kids' device usage. But, during COVID-19 era, we should relax this. Screens are how kids are connecting & maintaining friendships.

During this Shelter at Home era, have you noticed a change in your usage of your devices? Are you streaming more? Sending more texts? Connecting with people over long distances via FaceTime or video conferencing? I’m going to guess that you are. And guess what, your children are probably doing the same thing, only most likely, a lot more. And while in the past, people (including me) have recommended limiting the amount of screen time your kids have, during COVID-19, you may want to relax your thinking a bit.

I have written a lot about Social Media and Parenting on HightTechDad. I still stick to the recommendation that each family unit needs to determine what is best for them and their parent/child relationships. For example, even though our kids are in their late teens, we still tell them to plug their smartphones in to charge in our bedroom so we can attempt to force them to get some undisturbed, non-screentime sleep.

But guess what? What may have been proper or “recommended” last year, no longer holds true during this time of the Corona Virus pandemic.

Tech Tip Video – Rethink Screen Time & Social Media Restrictions

In this Tech Tip video of a series (full playlist is on YouTube) that I put together to discuss ways to potentially improve, fix or add to your Work/Study at Home environment, I talk about Social Media and kids and what you may want to consider doing.

I believe that we need to relax some of those restrictions we have placed on our kids who use their devices for social media and connecting with our friends. This new reality, brought on by COVID-19 (Corona Virus) has forced us to rethink our day-to-day operations at home, at work, and everywhere.

Kids are currently missing out on school and being with their friends socially during and after school. There are no hangouts or trips to the movies or mall or even other people’s houses (if you are following the recommendations of Sheltering at Home by the medical professionals).

But children need to connect and socialize.

And these same kids have grown up with the luxury of having a supercomputer that is connected to the world right in their pocket. They have not know a time without it so it has become second nature for them. So as they are pivoting to a world without physical social contact, they are embracing the tools that allow them to have digital social contact. (I go into this in my earlier article – “With Social Distancing in Effect, Try Social Media “Gathering” Instead!“)

Relax & let them Connect

My point is pretty simple. During this tough period, relax some of those restrictions you may have put in place regarding screen time and the use of social media, texting, or chatting. Kids need to continue to grow their relationships and make new ones. They need to remain connected.

But, as I always say, this decision is up to each family or household unit. What works for some might not work for others. Be sure to have a discussion around it.

I would love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Feel free to leave a comment on how you have change how screen time and social media is working in your household.

I will be posting more Tech Tips articles and videos in the coming weeks so be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel or visit my site regularly. If you have a question about tech at home or perhaps a tip that you and your household is using that you want to share with people, please leave a comment. Heck, I might start using it and create a video!

Please stay safe and healthy and practice physical distancing – embrace Social Media “Gathering” instead!

HTD says: As COVID-19 physical distancing recommendations are forcing households to not have physical gatherings, our kids are pivoting to embrace more screen time, social media, and chatting so they can remain connected with their friends. As parents or guardians, we need to allow them to do this.

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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