If you’re the parent of a teenager, or a pre-teen heading for that glorious part of their life, you’ve probably either had, or are thinking about having, a discussion with them about social media.
For young people, social media is a big part of the social life, with the majority of teenagers being connected to at least one, but often more than one, social network.
Parents, who don’t always understand these networks, often struggle to figure out just how to monitor and control their kids’ social media use. On the one hand, we want to avoid having our teenagers hate us and purposefully rebel, on the other hand, we want to make sure they’re safe and that they make good decisions when they’re online.
That’s what these commandments are for. Consider them the rules that you should be drilling into the heads of your teenagers and pre-teens, or pretty much anyone in your family using social media. They cover all the bases, and allow you to expand as you will.
1. Use Sites In Moderation
If you know a teenager, then you know they’re rarely doing anything else but being glued to a screen. In fact, a recent study found that the average teenager in America spends 9 hours a day consuming media on average, with kids aged 8-12 clocking up 6 hours a day. Now while there are yet to be concrete health guidelines on how much screen time is appropriate, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that time spent on a screen is physically inactive time. The best rule to drill into teens is that social networks are supposed to be used in moderation, balanced with actually living your life.
2. Don’t Send Anything Private
One of the most important things that parents can make clear to their teenagers is that things they send online, even in private messages, aren’t really private. Anything can be screen-shotted and shared around widely, from embarrassing private messages to images. Make sure your teenager is aware that, just because they’re friends with someone online, doesn’t mean they can always trust that person with their private stuff. One way to make it clear is to have them understand that if they wouldn’t show it to their mum or dad, they shouldn’t be sending it privately.