Technology is always changing and it is hard, as a parent, to keep up with the various kinds of platforms and social media apps that are being used daily. We encourage you to talk to your teens about social media, but we realize that it can be difficult. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
Don’t Be Too Controlling
We all want our kids to be safe and make smart decisions on the internet, but teens are more likely to fight you when it comes to their social media. Have a conversation about your expectations when it comes to social media use. Talk through things like privacy settings, sharing your age online and how you can never really delete things from the internet. This conversation is meant to build trust and empower them to make their own decisions but be upfront about what kinds of things you, as a parent, will be checking in on.
Lead By Example
It is likely that if you are following your teen on social media that they are following you right back. Be conscious of the types of posts and content you share. Simply lead by example. If you don’t want your kids to post their age on social, don’t post yours. If you don’t want your kids bullying people on social, don’t engage in bad behavior on social. If you set tech-free zones or times for your kids then abide by them yourself.
Keep the Conversation Going
The talk about social media is not one-and-done. Since things change so often, the conversation must keep going. The best tactic here is to put the conversation in your teen’s court. Ask questions like, “What is SnapChat? Could you show me how to use it?” When teens feel like experts, they will let their guard down much easier. Keeping the lines of communication open with your teens will help foster a trusting relationship and make conversations easier down the line.
For more information and tips on talking to your teens about internet safety, click here.