“Am I wrong to completely disallow social media for my 9 year old?”

Hello, welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
at Teen Therapy Center here in Woodland Hills, California, coming to you live on Facebook every
noon and Wednesday to answer your parenting questions that you email to us. And here is today's
question. I'm curious about how limiting or prohibiting social media use affects kids. I have
a nine -year -old and I don't let her have any social media accounts. I'm a little worried that
this might be alienating her from her peers who seem to use all sorts of different social media
platforms. However, I personally believe social media is quite detrimental for kids. Am I
wrong to completely disallow social media? No! I don't think you are at all. I think you should
be limiting your 9 -year -old's social media use. Social media is designed for a lot of people
to connect and communicate, but it's got a haywire. You know, it's not just about that. It's
also about comparisons. It's also about getting likes

and getting followers. And a nine -year -old or a thirteen -year -old and even some seventeen
-year -olds aren't emotionally capable of handling that. What happens is they get obsessed,
as some adults do too, but there's this obsession of, I need to be liked, I need to be accepted.
You know, so much of teens and young adults and adolescents, their focus is to find that acceptance,
find how they fit in, make sure that they find the reassurance that they are a worthwhile person.
Social media, I don't think, is a healthy way to do that. Finding ways to connect with friends
face -to -face is a really good way to do that, but kids can get obsessed on it, on how many likes,
and also comparing. And also what we know on social media is what people put on social media is
not who they really are. It's their idealized selves and a nine -year -old, especially a nine
-year -old, isn't savvy enough to understand that. There have been a lot of studies been coming
out over the last 10 years how adolescent

and young adult depression and suicide is on the rise and it's on the rise right along with social
media. Now there is debate on whether social media is the cause of that or a cause of that. My personal
belief is I think it is. I see it. I see it all the time. The kids have FOMO, which stands for fear
of missing out, right? And so they have this fear that if they're not on social media, they're
gonna miss something really important. And it's it's horrible and they feel horrible and they
feel awful and they feel the friends are gonna leave them and no one's gonna like them. So if they're
in there, it's really difficult for them to find that balance. So if you do decide to give your
kids social media, and that is totally right, And there are a lot of kids who have social media.
Before you go in, make sure you have really clear boundaries. Make sure you know what the boundaries
are, because most of the families I work with wish they had started that way. They wish they had
had really clear

boundaries. Because once you start, it's hard to pull back, because they're in it. Make sure
that you have access, and you're watching it, so you can see what's going on with their kids.
Is there cyber bullying going on? You know, what I was talking to a colleague of mine today about
is, you know, when, as adults, when we were kids, there may be bullying, or we may get picked on
at school, but when we come home, we have that safety. Well, not anymore, because it's all online.
It's always there. And if you're in the social media world, you can't get out. So again, it's
the social pressures, it's the pressures of trying to measure up to influencers and other people's
ideal selves that aren't really truth and it's just a matter of finding ways to connect. Now
you may also be asking well if my kids not on social media they're not connecting with people
and they're gonna feel lonely and bored and that's our job as parents to get them involved in
other things whether it's a sport, whether it's

Scouts, whether it's theater, you know whatever it is you know make sure they're involved in
social activities so they can have that face -to -face connection. One of the things, one last
point on this, and I think it's really important, is it used to be that on weekends, kids would
look forward to the weekend to go do something with friends and have fun. But now, what you're
looking forward to is doing something where you take a cool picture to post it online to show
that you are worthwhile and you have friends. And that's not a healthy way to go through life.
So I encourage you to set boundaries and limitations on social media as much as you can, delay
it as much as you can, and good luck. It's not easy because we're all on social media. You're right
now on social media watching me. So I understand the irony in that message right there. So anyways,
again, there's a lot more we can say about this. If you have more questions, contact us. If you
have a question that you'd like me to answer

on the next Tips on Teens, you can email us at tipsonteens at teentherapycenter .com, or you
can direct messages here right on Facebook. We'd love to hear from you, and we'll see you Wednesday,
and have a good week. Bye -bye.

What age do you think is appropriate for social media use? Should younger children be allowed to have social media accounts? It’s very common these days and the #TipsOnTeens question this week comes from a parent wondering if disallowing social media might create some alienation from friends. Here’s the question:

“I’m curious about how limiting or prohibiting social media use effects kids. I have a 9 year old and I don’t let her have any social media accounts. I’m a little worried that this might be alienating her from her peers who seem to use all sorts of different social media platforms, however, I personally believe social media is quite detrimental for kids. Am I wrong to completely disallow social media?”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.