Though many parents may not have had access to a cell phone until they were in their late teens, this is not the norm for the youth of today. Children are using smartphones and other technology from a very young age. With this technology comes the ability to access mediums of communicating and interacting with other people, most notably through social media. For many parents, this can be incredibly scary at first. However, by teaching your children how to be safe and responsible on social media, you will be able to alleviate some of that fear.
Start with a contract
Before you ever grant your kids access to social media, explicitly write down a list of rules that outline how they should behave online and have them agree to it. Entering into a social media contract such as this has many benefits. First, it teaches kids to take ownership of what they post. It shows that parents are putting trust in their children and for children, this is a huge privilege. Most kids will appreciate that they are being given a certain amount of privacy, in exchange for abiding by specific rules.
Warn them of potential dangers
If parents are open and frank with their kids about the dangers of social media, they will have a better idea of what to watch out for. In particular, you might want to warn your kids about online predators, inappropriate content, and cyberbullying. Your children will then be able to use this information to safeguard and enhance their social media experiences.
Maintain a dialogue
Once your children are up and running on social media, it is crucial that you do not become complacent as a parent. Just because nothing has gone wrong during the first few months doesn’t mean that nothing will ever go wrong. As such, it is essential to maintain a social media dialogue with your children. That will give you a better idea of whether they are doing something they shouldn’t, or if there is something else you need to speak to them about in more detail.
Social media is an excellent way for children to meet new friends, organize events and stay connected on a daily basis. By following the tips contained in this article and allowing your children to use social media in a responsible way you will be giving them the perfect platform to share their thoughts, ideas, music, and photos. Of course, you will also be granting yourself some well-deserved peace of mind.