Balancing Act: This Summer, A Promise To Keep Social Media From Blocking Out The Sunshine

By Heidi Stevens
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Columnist Heidi Stevens shares how she plans to tackle a “social media” agreement with her daughter that experts recommend for keeping your kids safe during the summer months.

Chicago Tribune

School is finally out in a few short days, so I’m putting the finishing touches on my daughter’s contract spelling out proper social media use for the summer.

Just kidding. I can’t spell out anything until we get through the homestretch of middle school revelry: field day (bring a water bottle!), staff/student softball game (bring a towel to sit on!), class picnic (bring a disposable lunch!), pajama day (wear pajamas!), Cubs/Sox Day (wear Cubs or Sox gear, but not in the form of pajamas!), school carnival (volunteer!).

Only then, after we’ve celebrated adequately and remembered to return overdue library books and cleaned out lockers and donated too-small uniforms and packed the last lunch (hallelujah), can I tackle this document that experts recommend for keeping your kids safe and not utterly bummed out by what happens on Snapchat, Instagram, etc., during the summer months.

“I understand that I should never use social media to belittle someone or hurt someone’s feelings.

“I understand that I should keep all my settings set to private.

“I understand that Kylie Jenner’s life choices are rarely ones I want to emulate.

That kind of thing. (Google “teen social media contract” for sample contracts if you’re interested.)

It makes sense. My daughter’s phone hours are bound to increase without the pressures of school, homework, Debate Club, Beta Club and so on. Behavior guidelines are at least as important as time limits.

While I’m at it, I’m thinking of drawing up a social media contract for myself.

By the time you reach adulthood, summer often feels like little more than a hotter version of the rest of the months. Still going to work. Still drowning in deadlines. Still running a household. Still chipping away at the credit card bills. Where’s the respite?

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