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Back-To-School: Finding the balance between tech gear and trouble

WZTV

FOX17 News is your Back-to-School station and as midstate students "gear up" for class, Anchor Erika Kurre shares some advice on the balance between tech gear and trouble.

Technology and social media has been the source of growing pressure for today's parents and their children.

"Yeah, it's been, it's hard," Courtney Gregory, a Murfreesboro parent, said.

There is a constant craving for kids to have access to social media and technology.

"I think it got out of control really fast," Gregory said.

Courtney Gregory often spends the afternoon at the ball field with her eight-year-old daughter, watching her 12-year-old son play in Hendersonville.

The outdoor game is a distraction from, and a sharp contrast, to his yearning for online activity.

"There hasn't been a time that the stakes have been this high," Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Kaka Ray said.

Ray treats a growing number of middle and high schoolers with depression and anxiety.

She says there are now diagnosable traits in children with depression sprouting from social media interaction.

Even just appearing on social media can have consequences.

"These kids are under tremendous pressure that whatever they do and kids are impulsive is recorded forever," Ray said.

Most midsstate schools allow the use of personal technology, such as cell phones and iPads on school property in almost all places except the classroom.

Cell phone videos of school fights in the hallways go viral on social media almost weekly.

Those in the background can be tagged even those nowhere near the incident can be tagged. Then their name and image is attached to the incident.

"Colleges are looking at that. Even competitive high schools are looking at it. And certainly in the job market," Ray said.

But Gregory, who is also a high school teacher, believes parents and teachers can hit a home-run getting the most out of technology and school.

"There just has to be a really strict guideline red light, green light," Gregory said.

Gregory says parents can use grades as a motivator to earn some access but never unlimited access.

Therapist Kaka Ray also advises to keep a close relationship with children, reminding them that "cyber space is not home base."

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