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Being a parent today is a hard job. We are busy cooking, cleaning, taking kids to sports/dance practice and coordinating everyone’s schedules! This can be exhausting!  At times we forget how impressionable kids are.

With the recent Christmas holiday, many students have been talking to me about the electronic devices they received as gifts. One of my recent conversations was with a first grader who got a phone but told me that he “can’t call on, but can do everything else.” He then pointed out that he was unable to text because he wasn’t good at spelling yet.

Since 2012, I’ve been doing trainings trying to help adults understand the world of youth, technology, social media, and mental health. When I first started doing my trainings, I was targeting the parents of high school aged kiddos. Now I’m trying to get elementary parents to my trainings. As youth get technology younger and younger, they can see and misunderstand healthy and unhealthy mental health.

You may have seen a recent story posted on the Medium website titled,  “I’m a 37-Year-Old Mom & I Spent Seven Days Online as an 11-Year-Old Girl. Here’s What I Learned.” This story was sent to me by numerous folks who support the mission of Shape The Sky. I have to admit, it’s a catchy headline, and I’m sure many people wanted to know what the 37-year-old mom learned.

With a mental health counseling background, my goal is to provide the resources needed to raise emotionally healthy youth in the digital age. Something I hear often when training adults is, “I’m so glad I grew up before the internet.” Even though we didn’t have the internet, we were young and full of mistakes.

With every new challenge we take on in life, there is an expectation set before the venture begins. Elementary, middle, and high schools have a handbook to follow. There are expectations about attendance, academics, and behaviors.