Back to School, But Let's Chat About Social Media First

#icanhelp educate digital safety social media news Sep 13, 2023
Back to School, But Let's Chat About Social Media First


Hey there! As everyone's diving headfirst into the new school year, filling up backpacks and syncing calendars, there’s something major we shouldn’t just breeze past. The Surgeon General just flagged some stuff about social media that we really need to chat about.


Did you know they've linked heavy social media use to upticks in anxiety, depression, and even self-harm among kids and teens? It's a big deal, especially when you consider that nearly 95% of teens are scrolling, posting, and liking daily.


Look, I get it. Social media is woven into our lives, shaping how we see ourselves and the world. But given what we’re learning, how can we make sure our online habits are healthy and safe? How can parents and students work together to ensure a positive online experience?


To help out, I’ve compiled some practical tips for both parents and students to navigate the digital world this school year, informed by these findings and some trusty old common sense. Let’s dive in!


For Parents: The Protector’s Playbook

Timing is Everything: Consider setting a specific age, like thirteen, for your child to venture into social media. Early exposure can expose young minds to unsuitable content.


Privacy 101: Teach your child about the perils of oversharing. Stress the importance of thinking twice before posting anything personal.


Parental Tools: Empower yourself with parental controls and family centers. They’re essential to set healthy boundaries and time limits.


Trust, Don’t Hover: Trust is the bedrock of any relationship. Periodically review your child's online activity, but avoid making it a daily ritual.


Friend or Foe? Discuss the potential risks and rewards of online friendships. Advocate for safe interactions and caution against strangers.


For Students: Digital Citizenship Skills for Gen Z

Block Wisely: Learn the distinction between necessary blocking and impulse reactions. Block content or users that threaten your mental peace, but avoid hasty decisions over minor disagreements.


Curate Your Circle: The quality of your followers matters more than quantity. Ensure your online circle consists of genuine, positive influences.


Digital Detox: Prioritize your mental health by taking regular social media breaks. Switch off notifications occasionally or dedicate screen-free hours.


Respond to Harm: Encountered a harmful post? Be a responsible digital citizen and report it. Let's make the online space safer for everyone.


Bridge the Generation Gap: Initiate open dialogues with your parents about your online experiences. It promotes understanding and trust.


Let's Navigate This Digital Maze Together

Following the Surgeon General's heads-up, we've all got to be on the same page about using social media responsibly. Whether you're a parent, student, or just someone who cares, now's the time to step up.


Back to School, But Let's Chat About Social Media First

By: Janiyah Gaston, Seasonal Public Relations Intern | Digital4Good


Join the Cause: Dive into the Surgeon General's guidelines and link up with Digital4Good’s digital citizenship programs. Our school presentations and courses can help prepare students to face the digital future with confidence and care, making sure everyone gets the best out of the online world.



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