Today I read a disturbing article.

The truth: the executives of tech companies that create social media don’t care. They not only don’t care if their technologies are addictive, they’re counting on it. They don’t care that vulnerable children become sad and depressed from using their products. They don’t care that social media are platforms for wasting time, bullying, and engaging with a sexualized culture. They don’t care that sometimes naïve children commit suicide over what flows from social media. What the companies do care about is whether they can increase their profits. Whatever they can do to make a lot more money.

This is the truth.

When we were kids we didn’t have to deal with this element. When we were kids the problem was emerging television technology, which wasted our time and filled our heads with escapist nonsense. Most of our parents were caught up in it, too, and had no idea how to deal with it.

Children growing up in the early 21st century still have to deal with television and something more: pervasive social networking technology. They’re desperate to be liked and to belong and the cell phone is seen as the answer. If they aren’t a presence in social media circles they feel left out. Imagine if they spent zero time on the phone and chose to interact face to face with their friends instead, interacted with nature instead, spent more time on learning instead.

It’s a huge challenge to your parenting, using love and understanding to guide growing kids away from this negative influence and towards things that help them grow into happy, successful, independent adults. I’m convinced that communication skills make a huge difference.

My heart goes out to you, for what it’s worth. My own boys are now in their 50s, having somehow survived the awful challenges of their childhood.