It can all start with an innocent photo or comment…
We live in a world now where Social Media surrounds us and has become an extension of our social lives. Yet, as adults, we don’t seem to know a lot about it and what’s worse, our kids know more about it than we do! I want to help you start the conversation with your family, based on the research I’ve done over the past year. This is merely a summary of social media tips and tricks, however, if you have any further questions or thoughts, I encourage you to contact me personally!
I’m not covering the gotchas or negatives here – I’ve already written about Instagram, Kik and Snapchat in other posts, so if that’s what you’re looking for, head on over to our other blogs, then come back here. The goal of this post is to help you, the parent, engage in and start a conversation with your child. As parents, we’re chronically busy, but in order to learn from our children, and make sure they feel comfortable talking to us about anything, whether it’s on or offline, we need to get involved.
It’s a lot easier to hide online than offline…
7 Tips to get the conversation started
- Talk with your children about their online lives as soon as they start using any one these popular platforms:
- what social media platforms are they using?
- which ones they spend most time on? and why?
- have they come across anything inapropriate? examples? (you will be surprised to hear what they have already seen, heard, written, etc.)
- Do they worry about how many likes, followers and comments they get?
- This will most likely fall into “fitting in” feeling or feeling popular because they receive 100 likes on a photo. Seriously, kids measure their popularity this way nowadays (some adults too!)
- Encourage them not to keep score: count likes, were they tagged in a photo or not, etc.
- reading too much into this can lead to feuds offline in school
- How often do they check their social media feeds on a daily basis?
- Sign up and understand how these work yourself – then you will know more about the impact these platforms have on your children
- It’s OK to follow your kids on these social media platforms – build trust with them and don’t become a helicopter parent
- Remind your kids that they can have fun in other ways beyond just Social Media
- Have Social Media breaks – gamify it – let’s have a family day off Social Media (yes you can do it!)
In the end, we are the first generation of parents that are raising kids in this environment where social media is everywhere, impersonal, hurtful and can lead to dependance on checking these feeds hundreds of times per day! We have to be the leaders in this conversation and show our kids what good behavior looks like online. Social media can be a fun way to keep in touch with friends and family, and it’s an especially good way to keep in contact with people who live elsewhere, but it can also be a dangerous place. As parents, it’s our responsibility to educate ourselves, and then our children through thoughtful discussion and dialogue.
All About Parenting and Parenting Styles via The Babble Out
i-Minds by Dr. Mari K. Swingle