Posts Tagged ‘social media’

How to be a parent on social media

imagesBeing on social media is a big part of your child’s life, and it may be a big part of yours too. These days, there’s always a cell phone or computer close at hand, and some kind online socializing is almost always happening, whether on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, or Pinterest—it’s starting to seem like a new platform pops up every day.

Since social media is how today’s teens express themselves and stay connected, it’s important for you as a parent to supervise their online activities, just as parents should keep up with their kids’ grades, friends and other parts of life.

But how can you supervise your child online without seeming intrusive or, worse, getting blocked?         Here are some tips:

1. Ask your children to accept your friend request, then have a conversation with them about your need to monitor their safety. Be honest about the fact that you’ll randomly check in on them but assure them that you’ll stop short of being a “stalker,” which is what many young people in therapy complain about their parents doing.

2. Establish ground rules. That means telling them what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. You can promise not to post or comment on anything on their profile, if they don’t want you to. Know, too, that teens often hate it when parents post pictures of them, or tag them in updates. It’s also best to avoid using nicknames or making inside jokes online.

3. Try not to criticize your children or their friends for what they post. If something truly concerns you, have a calm conversation with your child (in person, not online!) about your concern without being overcritical about what you saw.

4. Examine your own social-media usage. Does it reflect your values and those of your family? Delete anything questionable, and don’t engage in posts or discussions that you wouldn’t want to see your child involved in. Remember that your children (and their friends) will see all that you do on social networks, so don’t allow your role-model behavior to drop just because you feel like you’re behind a screen