TikTok Ate My Daughter, and My Son Won’t Stop Playing Video Games

What parents need to know about the emerging worlds of social media and online video games

Recent research demonstrates that the more time a girl spends on social media such as Instagram, the more likely that girl is subsequently to become anxious or depressed. How come? And why is that effect so strong for most girls, but much weaker for most boys? What do you need to know about how girls and boys are using Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media?

Boys appear to be more vulnerable than girls to the addictive potential of online video games. The lived experience of boys has changed dramatically over the past decade. For many boys, winning at video games is now more important – and will do more to raise that boy’s status in the eyes of his peers – than getting an A instead of a B in English.

What do parents need to know? And more importantly, what do parents need to do? This presentation answers the following questions, among others:

  • At what age is it OK for a child to have a smartphone?
  • How much should I know about what my daughter (or son) is doing on Instagram, or TikTok?
  • How much time spent playing video games is too much time, and how do we know?
  • Which video games are OK, and which are not OK, and how do we know?
  • How do I enforce any of these guidelines, when my son or daughter can just go to a friend’s house and do whatever they want to do?
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