Gen Alpha won’t know a world without social media and AI. Here are 3 tips for parents raising kids in a digital world.

Gen Alpha won’t know a world without social media and AI. Here are 3 tips for parents raising kids in a digital world.

  • Generation Alpha will grow up with social media and AI at their fingertips.

  • Parenting experts say parents should keep this generation off social media for as long as possible.

  • Parents should also focus on human relationships and set up boundaries.

Generation Alpha — the kids born between 2010 and 2024 — is the first not to know a world without AI or social media.

The oldest members of this group are currently 14, and the youngest are about to be born. According to The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, children in this generation already spend four to six hours a day watching screens — and most aren’t even teenagers yet.

Meanwhile, social media companies, like TikTok, have been in the hot seat regarding their negative effects on youth — from mental health to sexual exploitation.

Business Insider spoke with two parenting experts about how to best raise Gen Alpha and safeguard them from the possible dangers of this increasingly digital world.

1. Keep children away from social media as long as possible

Ellen Galinsky, a lifelong expert in family-related studies and author of her latest book, “The Breakthrough Years: A New Scientific Framework for Raising Thriving Teens,” told BI the longer you can hold off little kids from the digital world, the better.

“They’re learning who they are, and how to explore, and how to move out into the world,” Galinsky said. “Making sure that they have a balanced life, I think, is really important.”

Although experts don’t agree on the exact age kids should be allowed on social media, according to the US Surgeon General’s 2023 advisory, kids between 12 and 15 years old who spend three or more hours a day on social media double their chances of developing depression or anxiety.

Galinsky said social media is not all bad, but some parts can be difficult for young people.

“A researcher found that when kids used social media in passive ways — that is, they just scrolled and looked at what everyone else was doing — that was more harmful than being active in posting,” Galinsky said, adding that the issue of algorithms can take young ones down a dark hole fast.

But keeping them offline forever is unrealistic, so if you end up with a child who eventually loves social media, turn it into something they can create, she advised.

“Have them create videos, have them write,” Galinsky said. “Turn the interest into something where they’re active, not passive.”

2. Set up social media rules with your children

Galinsky said parents should let children get involved in developing a plan for their social media use. She said parents should tell their children that they need a balanced life where they are allowed some time on social media but also need time outside and with friends. Parents can ask their children directly: “What ideas do you have for what your limits should be?”

For example, if they spend two hours outside playing with friends, they can have 30 minutes on social media.

Galinsky said parents and kids should create 10 boundaries together, write them down, and negotiate a solution.

“They’re going to be much more likely to follow rules if you’ve gone through this process,” Galinsky said. “It’s not going to be a battle.”

3. Emphasize the importance of real-life relationships

Eliza Filby, a generations expert and historian, told BI it’s imperative to help children navigate a difficult world in the age of artificial intelligence.

“How can we teach them to be human? Let’s build their emotional intelligence by letting them fail, by letting them emote, by letting them understand their feelings better, by creating a calmer environment,” Filby said.

She added that this generation will grow up with deepfakes, so it’s never been more important to “create a real separation between who you are online” and who you are in the real world.

Having honest conversations with children about reality versus online presence will help them better understand the difference. Creating this distinction will strengthen Gen Alpha’s real-life relationships.

“That’s the goal,” Filby said, “to have open conversations.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

Originally Appeared Here