Technology Tuesday: Should I Help My Teenager Have Social Media?

Our 13-year old son just got his first phone, and he does not have any social media accounts. He’s not interested in opening any - but lots of his friends have them.

Last week, 1500 miles north of us in a different state, a 17 year-old friend of ours (who also does not have social media) discovered that some girls had created a fake Snapchat account under her name, and started posting very distasteful, false photos of a girl they claimed was her...

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Technology Tuesday: Going Live!

“I walked out of my bathroom yesterday, wrapped in a towel, only to hear my ten year-old yell, ‘I’m going live!’”.

“Going live” is now evidently the thing.  This ten year-old was “going live” on Musical.ly, only to show her latest “slime” to her five followers, including grandparents and an aunt.  “Going live” basically means live-streaming a video of you—doing whatever you want to do.  People who follow you can click to watch and comment, unless you turn off the commenting feature.  (And slime, by the way, is exactly what it sounds like).  Facebook has a live component, as well as Instagram.  In fact, TeenVogue recently did an article called “6 Tips for Instagram Live.”  The article went on to say...

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Social Media Shame

I wrote this last year around vacation time…and, since it’s vacation season again, I thought it bore repeating.  Happy Spring Break, everyone!  And may we continue to be committed to encouraging and extending grace to each other…in real life and on social media. 

If you and I are friends/followers on social media, by the time you read this, you’ll probably hate me...

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Technology Tuesday: Social Media & Teens

NPR featured an important conversation about how social media is impacting the social and sexual lives of girls.

Listen to what one author discovered, after years of research, are differences between what girls and boys are posting, how girls are treated and how boys behave online, and some of the new (scary) trends in social media.

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This Is The Year To Stop Comparing

As a counselor to girls, I spend a lot of time talking about mean girls.  But I also spend more time than I wish talking about mean moms.  I get it.  Especially when you feel like your child is being criticized or even attacked, your inner mama bear---or mama lion comes out.  I’m not talking about standing up and beside your child.  Every child needs to feel like their mom is their biggest advocate and cheerleaders.  

What am I talking about, however, is the criticism that we can all easily slip into.  Social media just compounds the problem.  We start to compare…and then shift into being critical.  We do it online and in person.  I’m just as guilty as you are…

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Technology Tuesday: The 10 Most Violent Video Games of 2015

I’m often asked about certain video games by parents.  Boys can be drawn to video games like a moth to a flame.  As with all of technology, it’s important we continue doing our research.

We need to know our sons individually, study development, set healthy limits, make sure they balance screen time with movement and being active, and do our homework.   There willalways be certain games...

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Technology Tuesday: Exaggeration, Social Media, and Kids Today!

Counseling kids today, particularly girls, I am increasingly concerned at the exaggeration of words they use on a daily basis.  They’re “so done” about almost everything.  They’re “over it.”  They’re “dying.”  Someone is a “stalker” that looks on their social media several times.  And that’s not even beginning to describe the mental health jargon...  A friend who is emotional is “bipolar.”  Someone who changes their mood is “schizophrenic.”  They’re also diagnosing themselves with alarming frequency...

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Technology Tuesday: True or False (Technology Quiz)

Most American children spend more time consuming electronic media than they do in school.

"According to Common Sense Media, tweens log 4 1/2 hours of screen time a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year. For teens, it's even higher: nearly seven hours a day. And that doesn't include time spent using devices for school or in school..."

From babies with iPads to Chromebooks in classrooms, digital devices seem more ubiquitous every year. And one of the hottest issues today in both parenting and education circles is the proper role of electronic media in children's lives..."

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Technology Tuesday: Social Media Shame

If you and I are friends/followers on social media, by the time you read this, you’ll probably hate me.

As a strange twist of fate and crazy planning, I happen to have two vacations back to back.  I know…kind of a social media faux pas.  I honestly thought about not posting...any photos of my second vacation.  I didn’t want to make people jealous.  But, the problem is, I like to take fun pictures.

What’s going on behind the pictures is sometimes different…

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Technology Tuesday: What Not to Post (for You, as a Parent)

Several years ago, one of my best friends posted a photo of her daughter naked on Instagram.  At the time, her daughter was maybe a year old…and adorable.  It was an adorable picture.  But her daughter was naked...  

After 23 years of counseling, you could call me an alarmist.  I obviously hear the worst stories about all kinds of issues.  And I hear more than my fair share of information about predators, both real-world and online.  They’re out there, as we all know.  And any image today...

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Technology Tuesday: Social Media Age Restrictions

One of the most frequent questions we get from parents is, “When should I let my child start using social media?”  The very apps that children are asking for have answers in their age restrictions.  They came up with those ages for a reason.  But, because of peer pressure—“everyone else is already doing it”—kind of pressure, they and we give in. 

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Technology Tuesday: The Perils of Summer and Social Media

 “I took myself off instagram when I was on my family vacation.  I just had to take a break from seeing how much fun everyone else was having.”

A freshman in high school said these words to me this week.  She follows a long line of other girls who have realized the potential impact of social media.  For girls who compare themselves to others (aka all girls), it can become very discouraging.  As we say often in parenting seminars, loneliness doesn’t show up on instagram.  I don’t know that anyone (let’s be honest, adults) looks at social media and thinks, “I really love my life.”  Instead, we look at others’ more fun vacations, happier children and more perfect lives.  What we’re seeing is not reality.  Neither is what your son or daughter sees.  But, he doesn’t have the emotional maturity to know that.  She believes that every friend is having a better summer and getting with friends more than she is.  And, the problem with summer is that there is simply so much time.  They have more hours in the day to look at Instagram and read Tumblr and follow what their friends are doing on pinterest.  It can consume hours of their day and can easily become a lonely substitute for a social life. READ MORE

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Technology Tuesday: Where Is YOUR Teenager?

"Teens have always been a large part of the social media landscape, but while Facebook is still the leader in usage, it is losing ground to a new form of social media that involves sharing photos. Sites like Instagram and Snapchat are growing quickly in popularity among the teen population, signaling a shift in how teens use social media." 

Where is your teen? Where are they spending their time as far as social media goes? It's important to be aware. Take a look at this infographic to see where the trends are currently...READ MORE

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