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3 conversations to have with your child about social media over summer break

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Once school is out, students have more time to spend on social media. This may be worrisome for many parents, but it may be making students anxious, too. After all, students can experience tough situations — from uncomfortable group texts to straight-up cyberbullying — all on their phones.

At The Social Institute, we call social media the biggest game in the world, and it's one that kids can win or lose with each scroll, post, like, comment, share, and follow. This summer, let's empower our kids and huddle about ways to win.
Here are three huddles to have with your child, each based on one The Social Institute's recommended social standards.

  1. Protect Your Privacy Like You're Famous — Going to soccer camp? Taking a vacation with your family? Spending a long weekend at your aunt's house? Keep your location to yourself. That means double-checking the geolocation settings on your devices and being careful publicly share that you'll be out of town for two weeks. Here's another example: Got your driver's license? Congrats! Blur your address and other personal info before texting it to your BFF, just in case.

  2. Strike A Balance — Who doesn't want to spend some of summertime on social, whether texting, gaming, snapping, posting, liking, or commenting? Share what's important to you, be kind to others, talk about new ideas, make plans. Then, put away your device and focus on something else you care about. Have an iPhone? Consider manually turning on Apple's "Do Not Disturb While Driving" feature so that friends get your automatic text reply that you're at the beach having fun.

  3. Cyberback Each Other — Just because you may not be able to see your school friends every day for a couple of months doesn't mean you can't get behind them when they need you most. If you see someone being bullied, say something. Back them up. If you see them being positive and helpful, spread the goodness with likes and shares! Cyberbacking is one of the best ways to fight bullying and encourage others, period. Maybe this summer will be your summer of cyberbacking!

Remember, we are our children's most important role models. Kids watch their parent check email while saying good morning, text while at a stop light, and set devices next to the plate at dinnertime. Help them to win at social media by making winning moves yourself. Game on.

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