Is it time for parents to remove kids from social media?
SALT LAKE CITY — Granite School District in Salt Lake Valley has a message for parents with kids on social media:
“If parents do not have the ability to monitor and/or understand the technology and how it’s being used, then we are asking that they consider restricting access to social media,” said Ben Horsley, chief of staff of Granite School District, on KSL NewsRadio’s Dave & Dujanovic show.
Horsley said he talked to a mother in tears whose daughter was exposed on Snapchat to a pornographic video circulating at one of the district’s high schools about six weeks ago.
“I don’t know what to tell her. I can’t help her,” Horsley said. “And the question that’s going through my mind is why is your daughter on Snapchat, an app that is explicitly dedicated to hiding things from parents?”
Parents ask why the school district is not removing the social-media accounts of students who are cyberbullies.
“We are doing everything we can, and we are powerless,” Horsley said. He added the principal doesn’t have the ability to monitor over 1,000 different social-media accounts at a particular school location.
Kids can be crafty on social media
Dave Noriega said he considers himself tech savvy and has been on all the social-media apps like Instagram and Tiktok. However, he said kids figure a way to work around parental restrictions with fake accounts.
“We’re just so behind as parents. I just feel overwhelmed. Like I don’t know, is there anything I can do that my kids can’t work around?” Dave asked.
“The answer is yes. The answer is log in as your child or just simply restrict access,” Horsley said. “I have a seventh-grader, he doesn’t need Instagram. He just doesn’t. And people say, ‘Well, he can’t communicate with his friends. I tell you what, my son has plenty of friends and he texts them like normal people do.”
Ask the expert
Dr. Hans Watson, a psychiatrist and trauma expert, is founder of University Elite and joined the show.
Debbie Dujanovic asked how parents begin the conversation with their children centered around: “I’m considering taking you off social media.”
Watson cautioned parents against framing the conversation as right vs. wrong.
“The first thing you have to do whenever you’re having a discussion like this with your children, is take out the idea that you are going to teach them right and wrong, because right and wrong is so adjusted based on your perspective. Children and teenagers’ perspectives are not the same as an adult perspective,” he said.
Watson said the better path is to tell children that as a parent you are going to show them how to be happy, healthy and successful.
“Now we’re actually starting to talk about what will the consequences of you using social media this way be,” he said. “So, it actually gets the children thinking a lot more in the long-term consequences of their actions today, which is the goal of all of this.”
Watson said the advantage of this approach is children will begin to see their parents as the ones who are advocating for them to succeed.
“Because when it really matters, [children] will remember more the people who helped them succeed than they will the people who told them what was right or wrong,” he said
Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.