#childsafety | Editorial l Parents must get back to parenting | Editorials

Social media has become a large part of American life. Some would argue it has become too much a part of our life and replacing real social interactions. The latest wave of challenges on social media such as “Devious Licks” on TikTok should be a wake-up call to parents.

This latest rash of violence spread through social media outlets is not where our problems began. American family life and parenting has been changing for decades. Where family was once the center and core of where children learned behavior, it has been replaced by reality TV and social media. Parents have slowly allowed others and these social mediums to teach their children and sometimes themselves what should be important.

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Families who once sat around a dinner table together and shared conversation about their day began to sit and eat in front of a TV. It seems like something so small, but it was a shift in the American family many decades ago. Now, it is hard to go out to eat and not see multiple tables of families out to enjoy a nice meal each staring into their phone – parents included.

There are parties who carry guilt in the effect social media is having on our kids. A series of congressional hearings held last year called on the executives of Facebook, TikTok, Meta-owned Instagram and Snap the parent company of Snapchat. Some of the executives acknowledge their need to do more and said they were developing tools to help parents oversee their children’s use on their platforms. Instagram announced the “Take a Break” feature, which encourages users to spend time away from their platform.

These tools are only of use if parents are willing to take responsibility and get back to parenting. Parenting has changed and with it we must change as parents. If you aren’t sure where to start there are dozens of tech tips online and even groups on Facebook to help parents looking for support in raising kids in the digital age. If we are going to allow our children access to these social platforms, we must take the responsibility to teach our children safety with social media and monitor them. We need to take the time to ask questions, have difficult conversations, give our children rules and boundaries, and yes enforce consequences.

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