A Step at a Time Therapies with Nicky Edwards

Why we can’t hide from the dangers of social media…

  • 28th September 2020

Every week in my office I see trends and patterns of issues that are occurring in the wider world, particularly those affecting children and teenagers. These act as great insights to my work, and allow me to then set about increasing the information, resources and targeted support that I offer to parents – you thought all these blogs were random? Not a chance…….every week there is a theme from the challenges facing parents, children and local contacts such as schools, local authorities and tutors etc.

What’s occurring? 

Since lockdown, social media has increased it’s agenda in my world. Whilst it was a fantastic commodity during the craziness of full lockdown, it comes with it’s own dangers and perils, often:

  • under the radar
  • out of parent sight
  • not discussed
  • causing high levels of distress

Which ever is your poison, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, Pinterest or Snap Chat, they all have a hidden level of risk, and before we know it, our children can become the gazelle in the wilderness, being circled by lions, waiting apprehensively to see which one will pounce on them……

Our job, as adults is to ensure that they

  1. Don’t pounce
  2. We remove them from the wilderness
  3. That if they are in the wilderness we get them back to the safety of our den ASAP

Which is why, last week, I launched my Social Media Masterclass for Parents, to give a helping hand for the steps you can take to reduce risk and increase privacy (find it here). So, what are some of those things you need to be aware of? and what made me do it?

  • Increased availability of #proana sites/pages – proana = pro anorexia – these pages glorify eating disorders and share tips and ideas of how to make yourself perilously ill
  • Increased availability of self-harm and suicide pages = like it says on the tin, pages dedicated to sharing tips and ideas for self-harm or promoting suicide
  • Increased cyberbullying = there has been a spike in online bullying
  • Increased connections from unsavoury adults =  I have spoken to both children and parents who have become aware of their child being contacted by adults with ill-intentions through Robolox, SnapChat, Tik Tok having inappropriate conversations or requesting images or details such as phone numbers
  • Requests for nude images = an increase in the number of young people being requested or pressured to send nude images
  • Offering drugs or alcohol = increased frequency of young people being able to access illegal substances

Just before you throw all phones in the bin….

Whilst terrifying, we can take steps to ensure that young people are safe and this starts with us, and setting positive example.

We simply have to accept that social media is going – nowhere. It’s here, and we need to instead educate ourselves and our families to use it SAFELY, CAREFULLY and REPORT any concerns to a trusted adult.

However, we can make social media safer for children and young people, and ensure that we support them from the moment that they get a phone or device, as well as consistently updating and checking in with our children who are attached at the hip to theirs.

So, what can you do?

  1. Have open conversations – whilst we want to explode and get angry, this sends the behaviours underground, listen openly, praise them for telling you and seek advice of next steps
  2. Be a role model – Be aware of what you advocate, what you post and who you associate with – children see our actions as acceptable – be the behaviour you want to see (this includes older siblings)
  3. Put down phones – engage in family time without phones to allow open conversation and connection – if we all hide behind a screen we cannot see what is happening
  4. Be tech savvy – Talk through privacy and safety settings with children and teens regularly – spot check social media to ensure that accounts privacy settings are still in place (frequently settings change themselves)
  5. Have an open door – encourage sharing and talking about concerns – if we know we can help – fi we don’t children can quickly get pulled into a scary world
  6. Keep phones out of bedrooms – children’s brains are impulsive and do not register risk, keep phones and computers in open areas, and ensure that phones are downstairs at nighttime
  7. Consider monitoring apps / regular checks on phones

 

Further Support 

You can read more about by downloading our FREE Ebookshttps://www.dandeliontraininganddevelopment.com/courses/

You can learn more about child anxiety by visiting – https://www.dandeliontraininganddevelopment.com/courses/

You can find therapeutic story books to support your child at – www.adventuresofbrian.co.uk

You can find therapeutic stories and hypnotherapy audios to support children with anxiety at – https://www.dandeliontraininganddevelopment.com/shop/

If you need to pick up your own skills and update yourself on privacy settings and monitoring check out my Masterclass at – LINK HERE