What Have Smart Phones Done to a Generation?

New research on teens and the effect of smartphones has been circulating around the internet…

And the findings are both surprising and somewhat disturbing.

They come from psychologist Jean M. Twenge, who has been researching generational differences for 25 years.

For the majority of her career, Twinge noted that these differences changed relatively naturally and modestly.

But in 2012, something changed.

‘I noticed abrupt shifts in teen behaviours and emotional states’, she explains. 

‘In all my analyses of generational data—some reaching back to the 1930s—I had never seen anything like it.’

So what happened in 2012, to instigate such a sharp change?

Read more…

Teaching Your Kids ‘Social Media Smarts’

For most parents these days, there’s no avoiding social media.

You probably have it yourself, as do all your friends, and if you’re among the vast majority of parents in Australia — your kids will have it too.

According to the ACMA, 4 years ago only 45 per cent of 8-11 year olds were using social media….

That proportion has now risen to at least 60 per cent, with many of the platforms in question being age restricted (generally for users aged 13+).

So while trying to eliminate social media from your family’s life would be fighting an increasingly steep up-hill battle, there are some easy, preventative ways to help keep your children safe on these platforms.

Read more…

Social Media: Are You Monitoring Your Own Public Profile?

Social media is a largely unavoidable aspect of modern life.

And the ways parents monitor their children’s social media presence varies greatly…

Some insist on being ‘online friends’, some sneak through their child’s profiles without their knowing (a post for another day), or some ban social media completely.

But with all the focus we put on trying to protect our children from the many implications of a social media presence…

How much time are we taking to look at the impact of our own?

Read more…

Does Your Child have a Technology Addiction?

We recently addressed the issue of ‘screen time’ in children’s and adolescents on the blog.

Most of us are guilty of becoming increasingly reliant on our telephones and computers for communicating, working, paying bills and even getting from A to B…

But there is a difference between reliance on technology and addiction to technology.

And if you think your child may be in the latter category, the sooner you address it the better.

So what are the signs of a technology addiction, in children in particular?

Read more…

How Much Screen Time is Too Much?

Lisa Wilkinson recently made some controversial comments about parents who let their children have ‘screen time’ under the age of five.

Wilkinson called these parents ‘crazy’ and said:

‘Come back to me when they’re 14 and they’re completely and utterly addicted to their screens, they have no social skills, that’s when you realise that what you did early has come back to bite you’.

Many parents have understandably been offended by Wilkinson’s comments.

Not only is the use of digital technology increasingly prevalent and useful in the adult world, but it’s also an important part of school curriculums — even in kindergarten.

And let’s be honest — the interactive and dynamic medium entrances kids, and can give parents some valuable time to get their own things done.

So what is the right amount of screen time for children, if any?

And how do we moderate their usage?

Read more…

10 Tips for Being a Better Parent: From a School Principal

Teachers may not be child psychologists, but they sure know kids.

Their day-to-day activities, likes and dislikes, attitudes and behaviours…

And they’ve often got good insights into where their behaviours come from.

A recent article in The Guardian revealed how teachers might sometimes understand more about your kids than you realise.

This author of the article — a school principal in the UK — has identified a number of strategies we often use in our work with children and parents.

Read more…

9 Ways to Keep Your Kids (And Yourself!) Safer Online

Most children and teenagers believe that their parents lack computer knowledge.

They believe parents have difficulty understanding how cyber bullying works, the feelings it generates and how to assist with it.

Cyber bullying is now incredibly common, with almost every teenager having experienced some form of negative comment on a social media website.

Here are some tips to monitor your child’s behaviour online. You may be able to help them avoid being a victim or perpetrator of cyber bullying, or help them cope with it in an appropriate way.

Read more…

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