(NBC News) Cell phones, computers and tablets can outnumber textbooks in schools these days.
Common Sense Media reports nearly 90 percent of teens have smartphones, and many say that social media made them feel excluded, lonely or bad about themselves at times.
Cleveland Clinic Psychiatrist Dr. Joseph Austerman advises parents to monitor children’s offline behavior as well as their online activity for indications they’ve experienced something negative on social media.
“You may have a bad couple of days and not feel well as a teenager, but you should bounce back,” he says. “And it’s really when it becomes sustained when there are weeks when you’re just seeing irritable and down and socially isolating.”
That includes cyberbullying.
Bark, a service that monitors kids’ texts, emails and websites for parents found more than 60 percent of tweens and 70 percent of teens experience it.
“Children are becoming introduced to these digital dangers much earlier than you would think,” warns Bark’s Titania Jordan.
Principal Keith Griffin sees the pros and cons firsthand at Springfield Middle School in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
“There need to be guidelines, structure, communication, conversation,” he says.
Students at Springfield Middle get their own chrome book to use during the day… but rules are in place and their use is monitored.
Griffin suggests parents take a similar approach.
“Treat it like you are training them to drive a car. Spend time talking, communicating, going over your home rules about how to use it, don’t let them overuse it,” he says.
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