What do you do when you have teenagers in 2021 who can't get out, can't be with other teens, can't play sports, can't even walk the halls or sit in the cafeteria with their friends?
What do you do when the majority of their lives are left revolving around the internet, social media, and virtual relationships and communication? TikToc, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Discord, Messenger, etc....
What do you do when the media throws everything at you on a daily basis about what to fear in regards to the internet, the cell phones, the apps, the games, the human trafficking?
What do you do?
You have the difficult (and not always effective) choice to hover over them helicopter-mom style and check every aspect of their every day, including text messages and social media posts and apps being used. You have tracking abilities and parental controls that you can install.
You have the choice to shelter them from all of it and say, "No!", which in return teaches them nothing except how to hide from the reality of the world, rather than learn from it and learn how to make the right decisions about it. You have the choice to trust them and communicate with them over all of the dangers that can come from not being safe and smart while using the internet. Thus letting them roam free on their ph
ones, doe loading as they please, communicating how they choose, and using whichever social media platforms they prefer. Because that is what trust is, right? Believing in them to make the right choices and giving them the freedom to do so? But which choice do you make? Which route do you go? Will it make a difference between whether you have a son or daughter when it comes to these concerns? Is there even a right or wrong way to deal with this huge concern that we face as parents of teens today? It's a given in today's society that no matter what choice you make, it won't suit the fancy of the parent sitting next to you, or the teacher in homeroom, or Karen 2 houses down the street. Absolutely not. They're parenting choices are better and how could you possibly not follow their lead?
I'll tell you how. Because you know your child. You know your relationship. You're their mother and you will always know what is best for them. You know that you can't control societal influences on your growing children any more than you can control Karen's opinion on them! Choosing what freedoms and privileges you give to your children are not something that can be determined by anyone other than you and your children.
None of us know how the hell this parenting gig will work out in the end. We have no idea what we are doing half the time. And sometimes, we are even okay with admitting that! But what we do know is that we are doing our very best to stay the course with all the twists and turns that each year brings. We are swimming slowly through the sewage-like waters of what we know to be the teenage years.
So when it comes to your teens and social media, my advice is this. You do what you always do. You trust your gut and follow your instinct in regards to your own child and you lead - don't follow. Because what works for one teen under another roof does not necessarily have any affect on the teen that resides under your own roof.