There has been a lot of talk in the past few weeks about social media and our kids. The world has definitely changed since my husband and I were teenagers and it's sometimes hard for us to grasp that our sons are growing up in a world with constant access to technology. Working in this industry, I think I notice the impact of social media more than some parents. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat are apps that our children are engaging with constantly - each acting as a stage for them. The audience, however, isn't always the kindest.

According to the Cyber Bully Hotline, 4,500 kids commit suicide each year and roughly 3 million are absent from school per month due to bullying. Current research has shown that kids and teens simply can't cope with the emotional demands of social media, often feeling overwhelmed with negative comments or when their everyday lives don't add up to the staged photos they see. Honestly, there are days when, even as an adult, I try to stay away from it.

Think about it - Do you find that you compare yourself to people on your Instagram feed? Can you put your phone down during an entire meal? Do you feel anxious if you can't check a notification immediately? It may not be a drug, but smartphones are definitely unhealthy and addictive.

Cyber bullying and anxiety are only a fraction of the dangers of social media, however. OnTuesday, February 27 at 6:30pm, Resource Officer Gomez of the Meridian Police Department will be sponsoring a Parenting Workshop entitled "Social Media and Our Kids" at Heritage Middle School. This FREE workshop will address topics like kids vs. parents, popular apps, dangers of social media, and dangers of GPS on phones. All parents and their middle school age kids are welcome to attend.

Find out more information, HERE.

Learn more about the CyberBully Hotline, HERE.

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