Social media is redefining childhood friendship

Social media has steadily advanced into every area of life, including growing up. Today’s children are facing issues with which no previous generation has had to grapple.

Now, perhaps the most comprehensive gathering of experts in social media from the fields of psychology, social work, education and childhood development are gathering in New York City on Thursday, February 5th from 6pm-9pm at the Time Life Auditorium (1271 Avenue of the Americas, 2nd Fl). Their mission is to bring together professionals and parents in the trenches to explore ways to help young people navigate this new, radically changed way of friendship.

The Symposium, “Just a Click Away! How Social Media Influences our Children’s Social Development” will be focusing on key, practical issues including: How can parents and professionals support a healthy connection between social media and social development? What are outcomes of these experiences over time? What specific social media platforms are appropriate at each developmental stage? Tickets are $25. The evening begins with a social hour of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres and an opportunity for professionals and parents to gather and network informally. Register Here for the – The Meeting House Symposium 2015.

The Symposium is being organized by The Meeting House, a NYC-based nonprofit offering a unique program that helps children, either mainstream or with developmental issues, who need assistance in strengthening their social and emotional skills.

“There is so much competition for academic placement in the City,” explains Meeting House Founder & Executive Director Paula Resnick. “Kids are competing for spots from nursery school up to post-doc work. Lots of programs help them with academic skills, but where they are being left behind is with social and emotional learning. For many children, their future success with teamwork, relationships and future employers depends as much on these skills if not more than their academic records. That is the vital missing link that the Meeting House brings to families.”

“Social media has certainly changed the equations for children who find social interactions awkward, says Resnick. “On the one hand, social media can help provide needed buffer time for more thoughtful responses as well as anonymity for children who are anxious or shy. But on the other hand, teasing can now go viral - with devastating consequences.”

These and other issues will be explored the Symposium panel. The Keynote Speaker is Dr. Mega M. Subramaniam, an expert on tween social media use. She will be joined by fellow panelists: Orit Goldhamer, Middle School psychologist at The Churchill School; Carl Anhalt, Dean at Fieldston High School; and Janine Francolini, acclaimed Huffington Post social media blogger and founder of the child-focused Flawless Foundation. They will be answering questions from parents around the country, and thanks to real-time interactions over Twitter, around the world.

“Supporting a healthy connection to social media is now integral to our kids’ feeling of connection to a bigger, broader world,” adds Dr. Steve Blaustein, an expert in Child Language and Language Disorders and professor at Touro College.

Today’s children are growing into a world that thought leaders like Seth Godin characterize as a “Sharing Economy.” Social media savvy for their generation may be as key to success as academic excellence and the right career path. But social media disasters will also have the potential to be as damaging as major political scandals.

At “Just a Click Away! How Social Media Influences our Children’s Social Development” childhood development experts and parents are joining forces to prepare to guide young people through all these promises and perils.

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