Social Media Kids

If your children are on social media, it’s important to monitor their content and work with them on what’s appropriate.

The American Academy of Pediatrics released findings recently after a study on the impact social media has on kids and families. The bottom line: Social media have many benefits, including helping teenagers develop a sense of self and increased communication. Positive reinforcement from “likes” on pictures and comments improves confidence and fosters a willingness to take chances.

The need to intentionally monitor your kids’ activity revolves around the downside. All of the online sharing might be entertaining, but real-world problems can be the fallout. Teenagers have engaged in inappropriate relationships, and they have become the subject of bullying in extreme cases.

As you’re partnering with your teenager on social media, here are some tips to keep in mind from “Screen Play” on

  • Underage Facebooking:  No one under 13 is supposed to be on Facebook, but children lie and set up accounts. Parental supervision is the only way to enforce the rule.
  • Check privacy levels: Make them as strict possible, only allowing access for family and friends, not the public at large.
  • Create ground rules: If children are old enough to be online, they are old enough to abide by rules. Fill out a formal contract after taking a look at some examples online.
  • Keep the computer in a central location: Put the laptop in the kitchen or living room, not hidden away in a bedroom of library.
  • Monitor pictures: Girls love to post “selfies,” for example, sometimes with exaggerated poses. Make sure pictures are innocuous. Explain the consequences of posting inappropriate pictures and videos.
  • Watch your own behavior: You’re clicking every few minutes, you’re not setting a good example for your children.
  • Limit cell phone use:  Allow cell phone usage at certain hours in the evening, or after homework has been completed. If you have teens of driving age, the most important rule to enforce is that under no circumstances should cell phones ever be used while driving.
  • Talk about stranger danger: It’s better for your children to be scared online than unaware. Everyone is a strange on line.

What goes online, stays online. You can hit the delete key, or remove a post, but it’s been seen by hundreds of people and could pop up again in the future. Put a focus on being modest on social media, and your children will learn the proper etiquette and have a positive experience online.

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