Social media and teenagers

How to become a digital role model

Parents play a vital role in helping young people to become healthy, happy adults.

Our children may seem to demand more of our time and attention during their early years, but active parental involvement is every bit as important for teens. It’s just different.

As young people become teenagers, they are likely to want to be independent, withdrawing from home life and becoming much more interested in their friends. That’s perfectly natural.

All the evidence shows, however, that outcomes for teenagers are better when the family remains involved, offering support during these sometimes difficult and emotional years.

This guidance extends to the online world. Parents now should fulfil an extra role for today’s teenagers, becoming digital role models.

Lead by example

As parents, we set rules for our children’s health and wellbeing: good sleep patterns, nutritious diet, regular exercise and prioritising schoolwork, for example. So when it comes to the use of technology, parents must lead the way - it’s not just teenagers who are using social media, after all!

Parents also want to share images, purchase goods online, interact with friends and colleagues and, often, use mobile devices to work. These are valid reasons to be online, but usage rules must be fair and consistent for all.

Children and young people are directly influenced by the online behaviour of parents. Be mindful of the positive online habits that you want your teenagers to develop in the digital world - and then show how it should be done.

Use technology intentionally

Social media and the digital world can be incredibly distracting and time-consuming, taking us away from more productive or positive pursuits. This doesn’t have to be the case.

Carefully think through what you’re looking to achieve before going online and focus on that. Set time limits for the internet and have the discipline to walk away when your task is complete. Respect your own time and don’t let the technology be in control of you.

Know when to switch off

Mobile technology and social media is designed to keep us hooked and wanting more. We can never hope to consume all of the information and entertainment that is on offer. We have to decide when it’s time to disconnect.

A big part of digitally healthy households is being clear on when devices are turned off for the night, as well as having dedicated digital detox times for the whole family. Decide what’s right for you, and then work together to stick to it.

 

Set comfortable boundaries

 

Resources

Resource

Supporting a child with anxiety

A guide for parents and carers

View resource
Resource

Life after lockdown Wellbeing Action Plan

During the coronavirus pandemic, we have all been through enormous change and some of us may experience further uncertainty and change in the coming weeks and months

View resource
Resource

Supporting children returning to school (parents & carers)

Guidance for parents and carers on how to help your child prepare to go back to school

View resource
Resource

Coping with self-harm

This guide includes information on the nature and causes of self-harm and how to support a young person for parents and carers

View resource
Resource

Perfectionism

How to spot and respond to unhealthy perfectionism

View resource
Resource

Asking for help

Tips for young people on when it’s time to talk about their mental health, or if they want to help a friend

View resource
Resource

Social media and teenagers

A practical guide for parents and carers of teenagers on using social media

View resource
Resource

Wellbeing Action Plan (child)

A simple, resource to help young people keep themselves well and get them through difficult times

View resource
Resource

Guide to depression for parents and carers

This booklet aims to help recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

View resource
Resource

Wellbeing Challenge activity pack (primary)

An activity pack for children, filled with fun activities following the Five Ways to Wellbeing

View resource
Resource

Wellbeing Challenge activity pack (secondary)

An activity pack for young people, filled with fun activities following the Five Ways to Wellbeing

View resource
Resource

Warning signs poster

A bold A3 poster showing the warning signs that tell you when someone may be depressed. This poster could save a life.

View resource
Resource

Depression booklet

Featuring useful facts, figures and information, this booklet also contains sources of help and what not to say to people experiencing depression

View resource
Resource

Parents guide to depression (Welsh)

This booklet aims to help parents recognise and understand depression and how to get appropriate help for their child

View resource
Resource

Coping with self-harm (Welsh)

A guide for parents and carers in Welsh

View resource
Resource

Supporting children & young people as they settle back into education

Ideas for parents and carers on how to support their children as schools reopen.

View resource

Was this article helpful?

Your feedback helps us create better content so if this article helped, please leave a like below and let others know.
Follow us
The Charlie Waller Trust
Queens Voluntary Service Award