Talking to Your Tween about Social Media
October is a time to celebrate and explore spooky side of life. As a parent, one thing that might be a bit horrifying to think about is your elementary or middle school child having their very own cell phone and access to the world at their fingertips. A new cell phone for your tween means new areas your child is exploring without your knowledge. Many kids use various social media applications to communicate with friends using their cell phone. Providing kids with their own cell phone, means more responsibility and an opportunity to build trust between you and your child. We have put together a few tips, suggestions, and conversation starters to use when discussing social media and phone use.
Tips and Suggestions:
- Remind your child that what they see on other’s profiles is their highlight reel, not necessarily their day-to-day life. Remember that they do not have insight into what is behind the photo. Everyone’s journey is different.
- Remind your child to be careful of what they are posting, both content and photos. You can even ask your child to think, “Would I want grandma, or another person I respect in my life, to see this”, before posting.
- Remember, nothing is ever truly deleted in the cyber world.
- Have a conversation about their level of privacy with the phone. Perhaps as a parent you feel if you pay for it, you are welcome to see it anytime. Other parents think that providing their child some level of privacy gives the child an opportunity to learn responsibility, resolve problems, and come to the parent for advice when an issue arises. Figure out where your boundary is and then be very clear with your child on the rules and expectations.
- Discuss the importance of personal information and how it is valuable and can easily be taken if not careful. Teach them to be wise about safety and what can be shared and why.
- Share a bit of your social media and online life with your child. This helps them see you in a new and different light as well as open a two-way conversation.
- What social apps do you plan to use?
- What do your friends post about?
- What do you like to share online?
- Can you teach me how to use (XYZ app you as an adult have never heard of)? This helps foster a sense of expert among your child and open conversation. When you kid feels like the expert, they let their guard down.
- Who do you know that has had challenges with social media? What happened? What would you do? What advice would you give this person?
Grow, Give, Love, Live,
The Mother & Daughter
P.S. If you enjoyed this and want more great information check out 4 Creative Ways to Teach Your Child About Self-Love!