Social Media and Your Child
Social media is becoming a large part of our daily lives, and even more so for our children. According to a Common Sense Media study, 90% of teens age 13-18 have used social media, and 51% use social media on a daily basis.
Parenting in the digital age is difficult! How do you make sure your child is safe? How do you know what they’re doing online? And how do you accomplish this while allowing them to express themselves?
Whether your child is already on social media, or you’re deciding if your child can have a social media presence, it’s a good idea to have a plan on how you will monitor your child’s social media. Having a plan can help you feel more comfortable with your child’s online activity.
Be where they are
To know what your child is posting on social media, you’ll have to follow their accounts. It can be daunting to follow all of their accounts, but following each account allows you to see all of their public activity. Begin by having a conversation with your child about why you want to follow their social media accounts. This should be an agreement or understanding that you will be following their accounts, rather than tracking or spying on them. Ask your child which accounts they want you to follow and follow them. You can also have your child list out all of the social media platforms they are on and create an account on the platforms to try it out.
Stay on the sidelines
Now that you’re following your child’s social media accounts, it can be tempting to like, comment on, and share content that your child shares. Although it may be difficult, try to be passive and just look at the content. Lurking on their accounts means that your child can keep their social media spaces their own, with supervision. If you happen to see something that concerns you while lurking, talk to your child about it.
How are you currently talking about social media with your child? Talking about their online life is important, and so is talking about potential scenarios they may run into while on social media. Having a dialogue allows you to express your concerns and hear what your child may have questions or be excited about. These conversations are also a great time to reassure your child they can come to you with any concerns about others’ behavior online or anything that makes them uncomfortable.