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My daughter Olivia, joins me again to share the effect social media has on empathic children and how we are navigating it together in our home.
Olivia named LOVE IS VIRAL, would like to be a scientist and child author, recently skipped 3rd grade, and is equal parts logic and soul. This episode was spurred by her desire to manage her moods when engaging in social media and text messaging with her friends.
Welcome to my world.
Olivia came to me, recognizing how these social channels were affecting her and I’m so proud of her desire to help other kids who have the big feelings.
As promised, below are the guidelines we use to talk to the girls about how to navigate this digital social landscape:
Social media and text messaging are tools, but still require the same manners and characteristics we try to embody when we are face to face. We must show respect, good manners, set and respect healthy boundaries. These tools are amazing in keeping us connecting, but come with their own challenges.
If someone else calls you (unless they are a parent) you do not hang up on the friend you are talking to in order to speak to the other person. Show the person you are talking to respect and kindness. The other call can wait, and when you speak to them you give them your full attention.
If you want others to join your game you can together decide how that will happen. It becomes troubling when you splinter off and then leave someone out.
If someone hangs up it is many times a connection issue. Don’t take it personally and refuse to answer the phone because you think they hung up on you on purpose. This is making an assumption that may not be correct and you could do damage to a friendship by assuming someone has bad intentions.
You do not have to answer every text.
Do not text bomb friends. If someone text bombs you, you can manage your own emotions and accessibility by putting DND on their contact instead of yelling at them that they’re annoying.
Do not become upset if someone does not respond right away. They do not have to respond to you. They have busy lives and parents who also manage their digital usage. This is a big opportunity to practice respect and healthy boundaries.
It is very hard to read tone in text so it causes a lot of disagreements even in adults. If you continue to become frustrated with each other through text, you will only be allowed to talk through FaceTime until you are mature enough to handle your emotions.
The adults will not be taking sides as to who is right and wrong. Instead we will guide you as to how to communicate better, but expect us to ask you, “How could each of you have handled that better?” and/or taking away devices when we see they are becoming problematic in your friendships.
We’d rather you schedule a FaceTime or Zoom call so you can fully engage and hear each other’s tone and communicate with your full attention rather than communicate in a distracted fashion that continues to lead to fights.
Assume your friends love you and aren’t trying to hurt your feelings on purpose. Emotional maturity will come with time, but starts by being open to the fact that no one is trying to hurt you.
THE PARENTS ARE TALKING TO EACH OTHER ABOUT THIS AND MONITORING YOUR COMMUNICATION. It is our responsibility to guide you and make you the best people (and friends possible). We are not snooping. We are parenting.
We hope this becomes a lesson in friendship and effective communication.
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Until next time – in the words of my grandma, “Love each other every day.”
In your ears, filling your heart.