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Should you ban your child from social media?

Should you ban your child from social media?

As a Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in natural medicine and a holistic approach, I was very interested to read that Florida has just signed a bill prohibiting minors under 14 from having social-media accounts. In fact, this has been attempted in other states, although the bills have been challenged.

Personally, I am conflicted on the topic. I do know that allowing your minor child onto social media with no controls and no supervision is a bit like letting a toddler play in the traffic. It can have very serious consequences! As a Clinical Psychologist, I have certainly seen the effects of excessive screen time on childhood social, cognitive and emotional development!

Studies have also shown that excessive screen time, especially for children, has an adverse effect on sleep, concentration and a whole host of other developmental issues. For example, it can limit opportunities for young children to explore their environment, to play and to interact with caregivers. This is crucial for brain and emotional development - as children learn best through hands-on experiences and social interaction.

On the other hand, we live in a digital world and not all the effects of digital experiences are bad. After all, children need to be prepared for the future and the future is digital. There is no 'magic age' or threshold that suddenly makes it safe.

At the end of the day, I think it all boils down to moderation and supervision - which is parental advice that can be applied to many different situations. Banning social media for children under 14 may have more negative consequences than we think, as many children will find a way to participate without permission - and therefore without crucial guidance and supervision!

What do you think?

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