CPG – Cyber Parental Guardians group on LinkedIn of which I am a member, is part of my motivation for writing this book, along with the many posts I come across on both LinkedIn and Facebook that focus on youth, digital world, bullying, cyber-bullying, and potential mental health issues along with suicide.
I attended a workshop for parents after my daughter’s parent-teacher interviews in early December 2018- poor turnout unfortunately-maybe 15 parents in attendance-good subject though! Digital World and Tweens/Teens and Issues That Arise. Also, as a social worker and a mom this issue affects me and many other parents worldwide.
We, as the adults and the parents, pay for the phone service and internet. Teaching youth to use electronic devices is our job as parents or guardians. We also need to model the appropriate use of all the electronics from smartphones to tablets or iPads, laptops, desktop computers, and more.
I regularly have ‘unplugged’ time meaning no electronics and I read, go for a walk, spend time with friends and family, cook a nice home cooked meal, etc.
The conference I attended was a mix of parents with kids as young as kindergarten age to high school with an elementary age child as well. Most of the kids had access to electronics. Some very much limited screen time and others very few limits at all. Some parents were aware of what their kids were doing online and others were a bit clueless.
Schools and many academic institutions and environments are ill-prepared when it comes to the digital world. Some educational environments ban cell phones from being used during class time, others allow it for use in the class if related to research needed for the class.
Some schools will confiscate the phone or other electronic device and keep it until the parent comes to pick it up or the youth can get it back at the end of the day.
Digital World Issues:
- Online stalkers
- Angry, lonely, depressed, untreated mental Health issues
- Youth do more online than face to face
Some youth have tried or were successful in committing suicide and to me that is such a waste. As tough as things get, and we all have difficult times, youth need resources and places they can go to for help. Whether text messaging help, a person to speak to by phone or a face to face support individual.