Helping tweens & teens stay off screens in confinement: a guide for educators & coaches
The toll of having 6 to 18 year olds ever more on screens when many have stopped most school-related, activity-related or sports-related interactions will be dire on their physical and mental health if responsible adults don’t react. Here’s a guide for mindful educators and coaches.
Is it wise for after-school or sports activities to be offering Instagram Lives ?
When kids and tweens are not yet on social media like Instagram, Snap or Tik Tok, is it responsible for the adults managing extra curricular activities to be offering live streamed events on those platforms? Even when they are, is it appropriate to encourage use of those apps?
No matter how cool you’d like to look, sending an 8 to a 13 year old on Instagram to stay connected to theatre, basketball or cooking class is not the best idea. Try to use media that does not have the negative side effects Instagram, Snap and Tik Tok have.
If you’re able to access their cell numbers, WhatsApp and, even better, the private non profit Signal app offer a great way to text, talk, by phone or video, including as a group, without the impulse to shine or get likes the other apps have as an essential part of their design. In addition, social media apps contain advertising, which may not be suitable for kids and tweens that WhatsApp and Signal do not.
If you don’t have cell phone numbers, the Zoom video meeting tool has free accounts that provide access to 40 minute video meetings with up to 100 participants! It can be used on a computer, a tablet or a cell phone. The person joins after clicking on an invitation link you send out via email or text and quickly downloading the Zoom participant software.
A YouTube live or video is also an option, but given the rabbit hole syndrome that YouTube encourages, make sure you get your young participants to turn off automatic play of another video before they watch yours, like this.
You should explain you purposely chose WhatsApp, Signal or Zoom over social media if you’d like to make sure kids know you’re cool but responsible. ;)
Your youth sports league has canceled all competitions and practices. Should you give up coaching your players?
Those players are not only physically deprived, they already miss the social interaction and excitment they got when practicing and playing as part of a team. Don’t let them down and turn to video games looking for those sensations!
Plan video chats using the tools outlined above on a regular basis: do some live training together, give them workout challenges to do at home, and plan Q and A sessions on the future of their favorite sport.
Read about how Columus Crew SC leadership council is keeping the team together — remotely.