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Don’t Forget to Promote Face to Face Social Interaction When Teaching Social Media Safety

Posted by Lisa LaGrou August 16, 2012 Behavioral Health, Health

The importance of teaching face to face human social interaction while promoting safe social media practices

More and more businesses are popping up that provide safety tips regarding social media usage among children. And, obviously so. There are many areas of caution that need to be exercised in order to promote safe and proper usage.

When you observe all the fast and immediate interaction done solely using text messages and social media outlets like Facebook and Twitter, you have to wonder (and hope) that all the safety tips and guidelines are accompanied by tips on how to limit the use of social media, and incorporate more human interaction.

Many parents see the human interaction fading and becoming replaced with the ease of a text, facebook message or tweet. The teens I know are on unlimited text programs because the 250 monthly text allowance would be gone in a matter of days (even hours).

Although I appreciate the added convenience gained by the introduction of social media technology, I miss the simple days of kids walking to a friend’s house to chat and hang out. And many experts agree that children need more social interaction for various forms of development. There are strong concerns arising that should encourage parents to monitor usage and place limitations, along with ensuring some face to face and “real” social interaction.

The social media issues we see today greatly resemble the concerns that began years ago from the emergence of video games. Children are strongly drawn to all forms of technology and it’s difficult to tear them away sometimes. And, parents are becoming busier and have less time to “babysit” the situation. We should be aware of safe electronic socialization but we can’t forget that face to face human interaction will be the key for today’s teens to make friends, date, and interview for colleges and job opportunities.

Experts suggest the following tips for parents to regulate social media usage:

  • Parents should develop ground rules and enforce punishments
  • Families can draw up contracts that spell out the expectations and guidelines for social media usage
  • Inquire with the cell phone company about setting restrictions and limits on social media usage
  • Encourage friends to hang out at the house – offer a welcoming environment

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