Social Media is quite a new phenomenon and it is starting to affect every aspect of our lives, from communication to entertainment to friendships and much more. When we see something interesting online we Tweet it, Share it or Pin It. When we want to research a travel destination, find a great restaurant or get opinions on a new movie we turn to social media. Social media has changed how we entertain ourselves, how we communicate with our friends and family and how we live our lives.
Social media is changing very rapidly and new forms of social media networks are emerging all the time, from Snapchat to Vine and much more. This can be a terrifying prospect for many parents, because although the world of social media has many benefits it also opens up your child to some risks.
Social media can be a powerful tool to find information, learn, communicate and do many interesting things – but like any other powerful tools it can also be used in the wrong way and can cause issues. As a parent your role is to guide your child through the sometimes confusing world of social media and help them make safe choices about what they share online.
How to Talk To Your Kids about Social Media
If you are a parent of young children today, it’s important to talk to them about social media and safety. This is a conversation that you might not have had with your parents when you were younger, as the internet and these social media platforms did not exist. However, these days social media has a big impact on the lives of young people so it is important that they use it wisely and safely.
Here are some important pointers to discuss with your children about social media:
- Educate yourself as much as possible about the social media networks that your children are using. You need to understand how these social media networks operate so that you can be aware of the potential risks that they bring and how to use them safely. You might even walk to create profiles of your own so that you can try the platform yourself and learn about them. For example, Instagram is for sharing stylish snapshots of the world around you and Vine is for creating 6 second long videos.
- Children need to learn self-reflection and awareness and that their actions have consequences.
- Consider what age is appropriate to let your children start using social media.
- Be waring of banning social media altogether. It’s unrealistic, as it is such an important part of life for the current generation. Also, when you ban something you only make it forbidden fruit and your child will engage in it anyway, but in a secret and hidden way without your help or support. Of course, it’s up to you to decide what is right for your kids.
- Encourage your child not to post any personal information online, such as their home address, where they work, what school they go to etc. Explain to your children what identity theft is and how posting this information online can put them at risk. Tell your child to beware random friend requests from people they don’t know, as these might be internet predators looking for young victims.
- Remind your children that the internet is not private and that anything they share can end up sent to someone whom they don’t want to see it.
Focus on building a good parent-child connection and showing your child love and respect. When they feel close to you and trust you, they will be more likely to bring up any concerns with you themselves so that you can talk it over and help them figure out solutions.
What do you think about the points above? What strategies have you used to teach your child about social media? Do you have any tips and advice to share? We would love to hear from you.