Social Media and your Future
Award-winning digital entrepreneur, Tanya Goodin, talked to parents and pupils about the pros and cons of social media for young people – from networking and employment opportunities to addiction and mental health.
Tanya is an experienced public speaker on entrepreneurship, digital detox and life/work balance and has written several books about internet addiction, and screen time and children.
In her talk, she began by covering the positive opportunities of social media for young people, in areas such as future employment opportunities, building a personal brand and networking. As everyone knows, however, there are caveats, such as protecting personal data and privacy in social media, and the need for caution around mental health and spending too much time on social platforms.
A wide ranging and useful discussion followed as parents asked many questions. Everyone agreed on the need for a balanced approach, rather than banning screens completely. (Tanya cited the Goldilocks theory, from Oxford University’s research last year: that there is a point between low and high use of technology that is ‘just right’ for teenagers when their sense of wellbeing is boosted by having ‘moderate’ amounts of screen time.)
But how can this balance be achieved, when games such as Fortnite, and persuasive tech beguile children into hours of online activity? Tanya gave lots of advice about taking control, emphasising the need to keep talking to children about what they are doing online, and by agreeing phone-free times.
This was an invaluable talk, alerting parents and pupils alike to the benefits and dangers of social media and of screen use in general.
Have regular chats about screens when everyone is calm
Agree your phone-free times and places
Designate a central box or basket to store everyone’ devices during family time
Charge phones outside bedrooms overnight – get alarm clocks
Turn off as many smartphone notifications as possible
15 minutes of fresh air for every hour spent on screens
Don’t ban screens completely – aim for balance
(From Stop staring at screens by Tanya Goodin. Ilex Press)