Instagram, Kick, Facebook, Tumblr, Vine, Twitter. There are so many different social media sites, it seems impossible to keep up. But as a parent we MUST! It will be tough, but so worth it.
We live in a world where a teen can never really escape classmates. Just about everything that happens is recorded in some way and then shared for everyone to see. Once it’s out there, it can never really be gone. We need to help teens understand this but also realize mistakes will be made. Helping your teen have positive self-esteem (see previous entry), will help them from over-posting.
Notice I say teen throughout this. It is my belief only teens should have access to social media and even then only with supervision. Young brains are still developing and some things (like social media) they are just not ready for. I’ve yet to hear a reason that would warrant someone 12 and under having access to social media.
Once you allow your teen to have social media, you need to put some safe guards in place. First you need to join whatever site they are on and have access to their site. You may ask “How do I know what site they are on.” You should have access to whatever devices they use (computer, phone, tablet, etc). You should have all passwords and check them frequently and randomly. Then, join the sites they are using and have access to your teen’s posts, pics, etc. If your teen does not want you to see what they are doing, you should be asking why and having a talk with them. Remember, it’s okay if they are unhappy with this. When they are twenty-five and trying for a promotion, they don’t want something from their teen years popping up online and ruining it for them. (You probably won’t get a thank you for it though)
Think about limiting the number of social media sites they are on. We are losing the ability to talk with one another and share in an authentic way. More social media will not help this!
Think about having social media free days.
Definitely have a cut off time where your teen has to bring their phone to you for the night. Let it charge in your room. There is too much temptation to check the phone.
Some of these tips may seem over the top, but, unfortunately, I’ve seen firsthand the negatives that can happen.
Bonus: A lot of these tips you could follow too!
Stefanie F. Pisarkiewicz, LPC
Experience and information from a counselor and mother- sharing her two cents on children and teens.