Obesity. Sleep deprivation. Cyberbullying.  Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  Drug and alcohol use.  Abuse.  Sexting.  Promiscuity.  Divorce.  Depression.  Self-harm.  Suicide.  Advances in technology, a steady drop in Christianity, and an increase in two-parent working households mean today’s kids and teens are facing issues unlike those of any generation before them.

Common Sense Media, the nation’s leading nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families in the 21st century, reports that, on average, children under eighteen spend nearly nine hours a day, every day, consuming media.  That’s a lot. 

Today, we’re less and less worried about our kids’ exposure to on-screen violence.  Those concerns are all but a thing of the past, altogether replaced by a desire to moderate screen time (How much is too much?) and access (At what age is a social media presence really appropriate?).

Can we monitor what our kids are being exposed to?  Should we?  And, how?  Who teaches our kids what’s classy versus what’s trashy?  For example, what is age-appropriate for their profile pics and posts?  If not us—the parent(s)—then, who?  After all, the internet is a fickle thing.  Once something’s out there, it’s out there.

What about those trending apps like IG and Snapchat?  Is Facebook dated?  Who is your kid taking and sharing selfies with?  Are geo-location services creepy and controlling or cautious and caring?

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If you’re raising a kids in 2018, you’ve likely asked questions like this of yourself.  Truth be told, I know that these are just a few of the questions—and problems—we’ve asked of ourselves and encountered in our home.  I imagine other 82717 parents and youth also face similar issues and have like-minded concerns.    

Which lead me to wonder: Are our kids, Campbell County school-aged kids and teens, struggling to maintain healthy lifestyles?  If so, is it as a result of their social media habits?  And, what problems—or solutions—are most important? 

Can more access to impactful resources change the scope of the problems our kids are fighting these days?  I’m relatively new to the parenting game, but I want to win.  After all, it’s our kids’ futures, and the future of our community, we’re talking about here.  When something so important is at stake, who can we trust for reliable answers?  Google?  Wiki?  Your best friend Rachel?  If you’re anything like me, and your Rachel has problems too… we’ve got your back.

In the next issues of 82717 Life, look for a multi-part adventure into parenting in Campbell County. We’ll explore the challenges local parents face, discuss do’s and don’ts for ‘rents, and cover topics from co-parenting to raising kids in two parent-working households. 

We’ll get political, talk religion, and examine the role of non-parent “parents.”  Join us.  82717 Parents.  Inside 82717 Life starting November / December 2018. 

By: Stephanie L. Scarcliff for 82717

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