Should parents follow singer Pink’s advice for kids and social media?

Feb 28, 2023, 5:30 PM | Updated: Mar 1, 2023, 10:03 am
social media...
A Herriman woman referred to as a social media influencer was arrested last week for assault. Taylor Frankie Paul was arrested on Feb. 17, 2023.(Screenshot of Paul's Tiktok @taylorfrankiepaul)
(Screenshot of Paul's Tiktok @taylorfrankiepaul)

SALT LAKE CITY — What is the right approach to social media parenting? Is it that of a popular singer? A psychologist weighs in.

Tom Golightly, assistant director of athletics, counseling and psychological services at BYU, talks to KSL NewsRadio’s Debbie Dujanovic and guest host Taylor Morgan about social media.

“If you can produce literature for me from a reputable source that tells me that social media is good for you, then you can be on it,” the singer P!nk told her daughter Willow, 11.

 “My daughter is the only 11-year-old in her class that doesn’t have one [cellphone],” she said.

Taylor told Debbie: “P!nk is doing the job that all parents should be doing. . . . The Utah Legislature this year has decided that Utah parents aren’t capable of doing what P!nk is doing here.”

Senate Bill 152 would “prohibit a social media company from permitting a Utah resident to open an account if that person does not meet age requirements under state or federal law.”

“What do you think about Pink’s parenting style when it comes to social media?” Debbie asked.

“Well, I have to say I can’t disagree too much with her,” Golightly said. “Especially with developing brains, the  research is pretty clear that there are a lot of negatives to social-media use, especially high levels of social-media use.”

Social media: young brains not ready, says psychologist

Golightly added that social media is not entirely negative.

“I grew up in a military family. Having moved around so much, I would have appreciated having a social-media platform where I could have kept in touch as I moved away every couple of three years,” he said.

But he advised balancing a child’s positives experiences on social media with the negative emotions such as comparing one user to another.

“[Children] can’t manage the comparison in an appropriate way,” Golightly said. “[As children] our brains just aren’t ready to manage that emotion, the ability to read social cues and the unrealistic expectations from body-image success, lifestyle, etc. We can’t separate what’s reality and what isn’t when were younger.”

That’s where parents come in, he added. 

Social media: parents as guardrails

“We know that they [children] are still trying to learn emotion regulation. They’re still trying to learn who they are and how they interact with the world,” Golightly said. “As long as we’re helping them through that process, I think it’s fine to expose them to those things.”

 He said his daughter recently turned 16, adding her parents are allowing her to make choices about social media — but with parental guidance.

“There were certain platforms that we were more okay with as parents than others. . . She’s like, ‘I do not want this platform. I would be okay with this platform.’ And we’re letting her make some choices on that, but we’re also kind of involved in that.”

Taylor said his son, 12, was allowed to have his first smartphone because he earned it through his grades at school. His parents control the iPhone and all apps connected to it and the internet.

But he stressed his son will not have access to social media for the foreseeable future.

“We have to be involved. It takes time and effort. It takes parenting. We can’t let others keep our kids safe for us,” Taylor said.

“So, you like the P!nk-style of parenting?” Debbie asked

“I do. You have to be involved,” Taylor replied. “You have to say no.”

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.  

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Should parents follow singer Pink’s advice for kids and social media?