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09/28/18

What Parents Need to Know about Kids & Social Media

Social media is here to stay. It’s ever-evolving. It’s time consuming. It’s addicting. And it’s a prime example of how smart this generation is.

When your kids are old enough for their own social media account, establishing clear and concise boundaries is key. Because, our kids are smart, and when it comes to technology, they probably know more than we do. Establishing boundaries from the start helps keep kids safe and gives us parents peace of mind.

Apps

The app store is filled with cryptic apps that allow our kids to be discrete in their interactions. And this can be incredibly dangerous.

Talk with your kids about the dangers of disappearing texts and images. Encourage them to be wise in who they talk to and what kind of pictures they are sending. Because, even though they might disappear, nothing—I repeat, nothing—truly disappears.

If you have a young child with a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, consider the benefits of screensharing and other monitoring apps. It might come across as overbearing or not trusting, but an open conversation about technology can help them realize that it’s for their protection, until they get the hang of it.

I mean, when they turn 15 they can drive, but only with an adult in the car. It’s kind of the same concept. We give our kids a technology permit until they’ve achieved full technology independence.

Games

Parents can be clueless sometimes. We were raised in a generation that didn’t have technology at the tips of our fingers. And this new generation doesn’t know what it’s like to not have technology readily available.

Check in with your kids on what games they’re playing. Ask if there are messaging capabilities. Ask if there is violence or harsh language involved. Just like apps, set boundaries. Talk about what they’re allowed to play, who they can play with, and how long they’re allowed to have screen time.

When we think of social media, we think Facebook or Instagram. But there are so many more facets to this whole technology world. Like most parenting topics, the main thing to remember is communication. They might feel like you don’t trust them or like you are smothering them, so explain your intentions, let them know how much you love and care about them, and help them understand that you have their best interest at heart.