If 13 Is Too Young for Social Media, How Do We Tell Our Kids They Can’t Have Snapchat?

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Just a couple weeks ago, at the end of January, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy announced that he believes 13 is too young for social media. He told CNN Newsroom that “the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many … children” because they are still “developing their identity.”

His comments are supported by a growing body of research which suggests that social media use can actually change the brain chemistry of teens. Not only can consistently checking social media make teens “more sensitive to social feedback over time” but it also causes an unhealthy “dopamine dump” in the brain, similar to the effect of alcohol or drug abuse.

Chances are, armed with the Surgeon General’s comments and that research, more parents will be eager to keep their young teens away from social media for as long as possible. And chances are most of us knew on an intuitive level that social media wasn’t serving our kids, anyway.

The issue is then less about whether to keep young teens away from social media, but how. How do we keep our children off social media, particularly when so many of their peers are online? And then, how do we guide them when they do get started?

SheKnows spoke to parenting educator and author of Break Free from Reactive Parenting Laura Linn Knight to help parents figure out how to have the social media conversation with their young teens.

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