Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter are the most popular apps among teens with Snapchat reaching an astounding 79% of the adolescent/young adult population. With social platforms having so much influence, parenting in the 21st Century is a tremendous task thanks to the massive dependence society holds on social media.
Parents understand that their children have a strong desire to connect with their peers and experience all the new trends that the internet has to offer.
However, as a parent, it is your responsibility to preserve their innocence long enough to educate them on how to conduct themselves through life. While we love the internet and it’s limitless collections, not everything should be accessible by young, adolescent minds.
It would be ridiculous to just hand someone the keys to car before even teaching them how to drive and the the rules of the road, so it would be just as harmful giving your child complete access to the vast expanse of the internet without laying ground rules.
The basics of internet etiquette, where/where not to go on the internet and a list of consequences if they fail to abide by the rules. Just as much damage can be inflicted on a child through the internet as the physical world, so punishments cannot be taken lightly.
Instilling a sense of responsibility and accountability into your child’s attitude for whenever they use the internet is a strong start for their future usage of social media. Limiting social media usage, restrictions on what to post and who they can follow.
Social profiles left on public can be viewed by anyone and interacted with by anyone, so make sure to adjust privacy setting accordingly for each platform. Privacy settings on facebook can limit what popups and what variety of ads can appear on screens. Make sure to set the settings to the strictest levels possible to ensure safe browsing.
Instagram and Twitter have the feature to set up a profile as public or private, which restricts who is allowed to see a profile to only followers. While on public accounts, various unsavory accounts run by bots can follow. Several times, users have their pages replicated by malicious users while on public.
Snapchat has privacy settings for stories and who is allowed to see them. If not on private, anybody could snap message them who isn’t familiar with your child.
Monitor Social Media Use
Excessive use of social media can form unhealthy habits such as texting while driving or distracting from school work. Setting up Instagram analytics on a platform like Owlmetrics can monitor how much time your child stays on social media, and it can determine at what point in time the usage was the heaviest.
Monitoring the content was mentioned earlier in the rules section of this post, but sometimes kids still go around their parents and post what they want. Whether it is inappropriate or reveals too much personal information (location tags, phone number, etc.).
Keeping tabs on who your children follow can be important to preventing an inappropriate user from violating the privacy or harming your child. While we can warn kids all we want, we have to take preventive measures for potential dangers.
Make Yourself Accessible
On the rare occasions that your teen comes up and asks questions, you should take that opportunity to offer up wisdom without pressuring your child or being unreasonable. It’s hard enough for teenagers to come to a parent for very personal questions so make the experience nourishing.
Become familiar with the platforms and software that your kids are using so that you can better understand the details of social platforms that could offer up potential issues for them. Possessing knowledge about the apps and understanding social circles makes yourself more accessible for your child.
Set the example
If your profile on social media is riddled with inappropriate content, then you are obviously not setting a high standard for your kids to follow. Seeing your immature posts would ruin the credibility you have with your child about your case for maintaining a reputable image online.
While staying appropriate is an obvious answer, limiting how often you use your own phone will encourage a lifestyle that is not centered around social media. The whole point of teaching your children etiquette is to promote more responsibility with their personal lives, and a parent that promotes that lifestyle through actions is much more effective.
As parents strive to raise their children to be respectable adults, the new platform of social media adds additional challenges that must be addressed. The greatest way to prevent damage from social media is to be involved in the child’s life while promoting integrity as they come closer to being on their own.