embed embed2
  • Why Parents Should Delay Introducing Social Media To Children: Here's How To Do It In 4 Steps

    A parent and educator reminds, "It doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing" approach
    by SmartParenting Staff .
Why Parents Should Delay Introducing Social Media To Children: Here's How To Do It In 4 Steps
  • Introducing social media to minors is constantly discussed in parenting communities and research. Parents know that data points to the risks that come with kids on social media but the reality remains that despite knowing this, our kids are social media users.

    In the US, lawmakers created Protecting Kids on Social Media Act, a bill that intends to set minimum age of social media use to 13. News outlets report that while sales for basic phones are on a decline worldwide, sales in the US is increasing as Gen Z tries to limit their screentime. As actress and mom of three Jennifer Garner said and was quoted by People on how she keeps her kids off social media, "I just said to my kids, 'Show me the articles that prove that social media is good for teenagers, and then we'll have the conversation.'"

    Does smartphone use automatically mean allowing the use of TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook? Andrea Davis, an educator and mother of five, along with her team at Better Screen Time, propose that it does not have to go together. Here the four-step process called Smartphone Stairsteps for giving kids their first smartphone.


    How to introduce social media apps to minors

    1. Begin with a basic communication device or feature phone.

    This step helps children gradually learn how to handle a cellphone responsibly. The device offers essential functions such as calling, messaging, and possibly a low-quality camera. It could be a basic phone that has no Internet capabilities.

    2. Transition to a smartphone with essential features only.

    Think of a smartphone with limited capabilities: making calls, sending emails and text messages, and taking photos. You can also consider including a calculator, alarm, and music. At this stage, no games or social media should be allowed.

    Remember to sit down with your child and discuss the technology rules and guidelines your family has established. Treat it like any other rule in your household.

    It's also important to set rules and guidelines about not downloading apps without parental permission at this point.

    3. Introduce a few non-social media apps.

    watch now

    When you believe the time is right, have a conversation with your child about which games or apps they might want on their smartphone. This is another opportunity to remind them about the technology rules in your family.

    'Social media is the last thing to appear on the phone. I promise you will not regret waiting on this.' -Andrea Davis, Better Screen Time founder

    Finally, add social media apps. According to Davis, "Social media is the last thing to appear on the phone. I promise you will not regret waiting on this."

    It's not a good idea to expose a teenager with an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex to social media since many adults are still learning how to handle it. In her blog post, she reminds parents that introducing kids to technology doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing approach. As parents, we can provide the support our kids need to develop healthy phone-use habits. This involves gradually introducing them to different levels of information and phone capabilities.

    By taking small steps in technology, kids can acquire the necessary skills before encountering new devices or technologies. In her Instagram post, the educator and mother of five emphasizes the same principle: childhood shouldn't be rushed. However, when it's time to introduce technology, there are excellent options available that are safe for kids.


    Read this story on a family's cellphone rules at home.

    What other parents are reading

View More Stories About
Trending in Summit Network
View more articles