Aug 25, 2023

“Social Media is Bad for Kids,” According to a Kid

“Social Media is Bad for Kids,” According to a Kid

Emily Cherkin and Family
Emily Cherkin and Family
Emily Cherkin and Family

Before I was The Screentime Consultant, I was a 7th Grade English teacher.  And you know what? I absolutely loved teaching middle schoolers, especially 7th graders.

Not everyone feels this way. In fact, when I told people I taught middle school, one of the first reactions I’d get was: “Ugh, I’m so sorry.” 

But here’s the thing: Middle schoolers are awesome. They are passionate, curious, creative, inspiring, and brave. As the moniker “tween” connotes, they hover “between” childhood and teenhood, and watching them strike that balance is messy and complicated and beautiful.

My daughter, Sylvie, just turned twelve and is starting middle school soon. I know she is “nervicited” (a mashup of “nervous” and “excited” created by the My Little Ponies and adapted for our family use!). And I know she is ready.

While she might complain about having The Screentime Consultant as her mother, I also know that behind the eye-rolling and the pushback, she’s listening.

At the end of the school year, her teacher wanted the students to write a persuasive essay. The teacher offered a variety of suggestions, including, “Why Kids Should Have Social Media.” Sylvie immediately protested and said, “I’m going to write an essay about why kids should NOT have social media.” (That’s my girl!) 

So she did.

And for this week’s email, I am sharing with you a video of Sylvie reading her essay. I helped her with the structure (you’ll note the typical 5-paragraph format, explanatory phrases like “This is important because…” and complete sentences), but the ideas are 100% her own. 

Please take a few minutes to listen to Sylvie’s words. Share it with your kids and tweens. Start a conversation in your house about your own family’s values and thoughts about social media.

Remember, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to this. Some kids can handle social media. Other kids veer into very dark places. Some kids follow the family rules. Other kids sneak accounts or use friend’s devices. I’ve heard it all. But that’s not actually what we need to focus on.  

Instead what matters is how we relate to and connect with our kids about social media or phones or tech. We focus on controlling our controllables. We replace judgment with curiosity. We model tech-intentionality and balance. We ignore the eye rolls and respond to the bids for connection.

At the end of the day, my TL;DR is always this:

Less is more.

Later is better.

Relationships before screens.

This summer I realized that with an incoming 6th- and 10th-grader in my home, things will shift in how we parent. And in 5 years, what I want to look back on and remember is that I not only loved my kids, but I liked them. That I enjoyed spending time with them. That the conflicts and fights we had were within the realm of normal (some conflict is normal and even healthy! I promise!). That our conversations were about their interests and goals and not always about the rules and restrictions.

Parenting was hard before digital technology existed. And it will be hard in the future too. 

Don’t lose hope, focus on the positives, and keep the conversations going.

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Emily Cherkin’s mission is to empower parents to better understand and balance family screentime by building a Tech-Intentional™ movement.

Copyright © 2024 The Screentime Consultant, LLC | All Rights Reserved. | Tech-Intentional™

and The Screentime Consultant, LLC™ are registered trademarks.

The Screentime Consultant Logo Footer image

Emily Cherkin’s mission is to empower parents to better understand and balance family screentime by building a Tech-Intentional™ movement.

Copyright © 2024 The Screentime Consultant, LLC | All Rights Reserved. | Tech-Intentional™

and The Screentime Consultant, LLC™

are registered trademarks.

The Screentime Consultant Logo Footer image

Emily Cherkin’s mission is to empower parents to better understand and balance family screentime by building a Tech-Intentional™ movement.

Copyright © 2024 The Screentime Consultant, LLC | All Rights Reserved. | Tech-Intentional™

and The Screentime Consultant, LLC™ are registered trademarks.