I love social media. I love that I get to stay connected to people that live far away and those who live next door. I love seeing all the kids grow up and staying informed on all of life’s events. However, I am very grateful I am not a teenager today. Social media has added a level of difficulty to this age group and to those of us who are raising them.
Kids don’t realize that what they type is the same as saying it to someones face. Kids don’t realize that pictures DO last more than a Snapchat moment. Kids don’t realize that what they do and say on social media can be found for years to come.
Over the past few months, we’ve had some issues with this aspect of raising teenagers, so I thought I’d share some tips/ rules we’ve installed in our family in order to teach our kids how to handle social media appropriately. These are, by no means, the “perfect set of rules.” Just ones we have found that work for our family. Feel free to adapt these for your family and share what works for you!
- Be on social media! As a parent, be connected and know what social medias are and how to navigate them.
- If your kids don’t want to “follow” you or “like” you, then make it a rule they can’t be on that social site. If what they are posting can’t be seen by you, then teach them they shouldn’t be posting it at all.
- Check their text messages and photos! I’m sure I will get some comments on this rule, but we’ve learned the hard way with this one. If your child is under the age of 18, they are living in your home AND you are paying the bill, it is your right as a parent to keep an eye on their texts and photos. Make sure your kids know there will be no phone locks or pass codes you don’t know and that phones will be checked randomly.
- Comment or like what your child is posting! That way, they know you are watching.
- Talk to your kids constantly about social media. Technology changes and kids LOVE to be smarter than their parents on this topic. I love learning the newest upgrade on a social site from my kids. I can connect with them and learn to stay on top of things all with their help.
- Follow what your kids friends do on social media. My rule on this, I don’t send requests to follow the friends. I wait for the friend to request me to follow them. That way, I’m not a “creepy mom!” You can learn a lot from your kids friends!
Even if your child is years from being a teenager, starting these simple rules from the beginning of their social media days will not only help them learn about safety and kindness, it will keep you, the parent, on top of things!
Keep in mind, this is a learning process and things will change faster than a Twitter feed.