Asking the right questions in the new year: storytelling for families

RALEIGH, NC – Since my first debut as a writer for WRAL’s Go Ask Mom blog, social media has featured prominently in my posts.

As a parent, teen coach, and founder of Project Arrow, an evidence-based peer-to-peer and leadership program for middle and high school students, I’ve seen the dangers of social media and the role it plays in the lives of people in their teens Areas of: Mental health and well-being Disorders in schools Addictive society of sleep-deprived students Isolation and disconnection among teenagers Unconscious beliefs and expectations Overly sensitive to anticipating social risks and rewards from peers

Through Project Arrow classes, we educate students about the impact social media can have on their lives, both positive and negative, and provide tools and strategies to help them balance reality and online personas.

For years I’ve followed social media platforms and seen how they’ve impacted our lives, but more importantly, how they’ve thwarted our tween and teenage lives.

Research on peer influence by the National Library of Medicine suggests that peer influence on each other increases as adolescents spend more time together.

Peer influences are not inherently negative and are in fact critical to healthy development.

The presence of peers is enough to change adolescent behavior, a phenomenon called indirect influence.

Even when teens are no longer around peers who directly influenced them, they can continue to engage in the behaviors that their peers have encouraged, a construct called persistent influence.

Importance of media literacy for our teenagers

Sherri Hope Culver is a professor at Temple University and director of the university’s Center for Media and Information Literacy.

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Culver and other advocates say media literacy should be taught to every student starting in kindergarten because nearly all information children receive comes from a media source.

Since kids will definitely use social media, the “more effective and rewarding” conversation should be about how adults can help kids build a healthy relationship with social media, and “that’s where media literacy comes in,” she added.

How young is too young for social media?

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently shared his thoughts on social media and its devastation.

“Based on the data I saw; I think 13 is too early to join social media. It’s a time when it’s really important for us to reflect on how they feel about their own self-worth and relationships, and the distorted and often distorted environment of social media is doing a lot of these children a disservice,” he said in one Interview with CNN. Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade and Dr. Drew Pinsky discussed the rise of bullying in schools, exacerbated by social media, in One Nation with Brian Kilmeade in his recent articles. dr Drew predicts phones will be treated like tobacco in the future. Additionally, Kilmeade highlighted a study showing that teens who spend less time online have better mental health.

Even Congress is trying to address the suspected link between one’s mental health and social media use because of the digital dangers we see with our youth.

School districts in the US are taking legal action against social networks

The US Surgeon General acknowledges the difficulties parents may have in keeping children off social media, but said if parents can band together it is “a much more effective strategy to ensure your children aren’t exposed to early harm.”

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We see this happening across the US. Several states, organizations, parents, and education leaders are taking legal action to address the issue.

The Seattle Public School District in January sued the companies that own TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Snapchat, alleging that their social media platforms are a major driver of declining students’ social, emotional and mental health According to news reports, a New Jersey school district also filed a lawsuit against a number of social media companies, alleging that “social media companies are exploiting children and saying schools are being forced to spend more money and resources.” spend to prevent suicidal thoughts, depression and anxiety”.

How you can help lead the charge

Like many others, I’m increasingly interested in the ill will that social media companies bring to our youth. It was my fanfare!

Will you help me raise the voice of reason regarding our youth? Give them a voice so together we can encourage other parents to speak up about their students’ social media addiction.

Additionally, teens should hear the voices of teachers as they see students weekly and continue to see how social media impacts their learning, attention, self-esteem and ideology.

I am asking you to support me in starting a locally led and individualized impact to hold social media platforms to account for the lack of policies and oversight to protect our children.

What Can Parents, Educators, and Legislators Do in North Carolina? What are our first steps? Stay tuned.

In the meantime, you can send me your suggestions to Gale McKoy Wilkins, [email protected]

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Gale McKoy Wilkins is a wife, mother, grandparent and family life coach. She is the founder of Project Arrow, an evidence-based, peer-to-peer and leadership program that teaches middle, high school and freshman year students how to manage trauma and crisis through life coaching. It is the first life coaching organization in the state to be funded by the Department of Public Instruction and the first to implement life coaching in a school.