The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 75

D I G I TA L D A Z E

media is
ession.
o game
operant
ques to

DECCA KNIGHT

"Much of this media is designed
for obsession. App and video game
designers use operant conditioning
techniques to draw the user in," says
Decca Knight, a parenting educator,
Roanoke County school counselor,
Clinical Trauma Specialist and Love
& Logic Facilitator. "This is especially
troubling because a child's brain is still
developing. The pre-frontal cortex, the
part of the brain involving decision
making, isn't fully formed until our
mid-twenties. This means that a child's
brain is particularly vulnerable to the
addictive nature of tech."
The pre-frontal cortex is also
the part of the brain that helps
with impulse control and relating
consequences to actions. Since it is
not fully developed in adolescents, this
can also lead to impulsiveness and a
disconnect between the actions they
take in the moment and the possible
consequences.
Knight, who is also the owner of
Blue Ridge Parenting and Connected
Child Counseling, says that since
the introduction of the smartphone
"studies have shown that our youth
interact less with others, are more

TheRoanoker.com

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DIGITAL CITIZENSHIP IS HOW WE CONNECT, COMMUNICATE
AND CREATE RELATIONSHIPS ONLINE. IT INVOLVES RESPECT,
RESPONSIBILITY AND RIGHTS.
PARENTS FACE TOUGH DECISIONS
regarding their children. Setting boundaries,
teaching rights and responsibilities, instilling
values and guiding children as they learn to
navigate life are part of being a parent.
Digital media adds another dimension
where a parent has the same role but
in new territory. Keeping up with the
proliferation and how it affects children
can be a challenge. Like most things, there
are pros and cons to the vast array of
available resources. Parents can help their
children be good digital citizens and make
thoughtful choices in their use of digital
and social media.
What can parents do to help their
children become responsible users of
digital media?
Create a family media plan outlining
what works best for your family. Include a
contract with your children's input outlining
which apps they can use, screen time
limits, and what can be shared privately
versus publicly.
Delay giving children smartphones. A new
campaign called Wait until 8th (waituntil8th.
org) encourages parents to wait until 8th
grade to give children a smartphone.
Educate children on safe media use.
No texting and driving. Check public and
privacy settings and ensure children
understand what types of content are
appropriate for public verses private
posting. Discuss sexting and pornography.
Let them know that predators use apps to
find victims.
Be aware of which apps and
media your children use. Most apps
are designed for adults and have
minimum age requirements, but teens
sign up and misrepresent their age.
Commonsensemedia.org lists sites that
are popular with teens along with warnings
about what types of exchanges take place
and what the sites are used for primarily.
Manually limit information shared by
each app. Data collection takes place on

all apps from games to coffee apps. Types
of data collected can include contacts,
pictures, web pages visited and location.
Ensure that children understand
they leave a digital footprint that never
disappears. Even if something is removed,
it can be found and shared.
Discuss the effect of what they post on
their reputation and future employment.
What they find funny now may not be what
they want a future boss to see. Consider
how what they post affects others as well.
Model the behavior you expect from
your children. Don't text and drive, limit
your screen time, be fully present to your
children and your friends and get consent
before posting pictures or videos.
Teach phone etiquette, including how to
hold a real conversation, when and where
to make calls and text (i.e. not in the middle
of the night) and appropriate response
times. Some teachers report getting
texted over and over again in a matter of
minutes by students who expect immediate
responses.
Use in moderation and balance
with other activities. Have technologyfree times like device-free dinners (see
commonsensemedia.org for ideas) or
planned family outings. Get outdoors
together. Technology-free bedrooms help
enforce digital-free times and bedtimes as
well as give parents more control over what
their children see. Consider timers on game
systems and Wi-Fi.
Promote media literacy. Ask your
children which resources are reliable?
Where do they get information? How do
they know if it is real or fake news?
Create a relationship with your children
that encourages them coming to you for
answers. Ask questions about what they
are looking up, who they are texting, and
what activities they find fun. Find out why
they like the games they play. Be open to
what they share so they don't feel judged.
Promote self-esteem and confidence. -LW

FOR MORE INFORMATION:
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If you suspect depression or anxiety, seek help. Ask your doctor for an assessment or
use the self-screening at http://mharv.org/resources/mhascreening
commonsensemedia.org has studies and recommendations as well as ratings for
movies, games, apps, tv shows and websites
aap.org (The American Academy of Pediatrics) has media tips and suggested
screen times by age
roanokeprevention.org has a list of social media apps your children might be using
"Bark" app monitors texts, emails and 24 social networks for potential safety concerns

JULY/AUGUST 2018

75


http://www.commonsensemedia.org http://www.Commonsensemedia.org http://www.mharv.org/resources/mhascreening http://www.commonsensemedia.org http://www.aap.org http://www.roanokeprevention.org http://www.TheRoanoker.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - July/August 2018

The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Intro
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover1
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover2
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 3
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 4
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 5
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The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 105
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - 106
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover3
The Roanoker - July/August 2018 - Cover4
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