Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat oh my! Social Media is a Parent’s nightmare!

Photo credit Cynthia Stacey

As a parent I am constantly bombarded with the social media frenzy and the questions that accompany it.  What age should they be allowed to use it? How do I monitor it? Helicopter parenting vs full on trust that they can handle it?  It is a never ending circle of advice, scaring tactics and information overload that would send anyone toppling over the edge of insanity.

I’ve learned over the years that my job as a parent is to teach them right from wrong, arm them with the skills they need to make their own decisions and let them age appropriately deal with issues on their own.  This applies to social media as well. My kids are on various social media accts and so far they have been successfully navigating this world and even teaching me a thing or two.  That doesn’t mean I let them have free reign.

 I have rules.

  • I subscribe to every social media acct that they do. They have to follow me and I follow them.
  • I monitor what they are posting. If I don’t like it, they take it down.
  • All security settings are in place so they are never just public domain. Friends only.
  • I teach them about the very real dangers of being online. Don’t talk to people you don’t know. Don’t post where you are. Don’t give out your email or phone number or any personal details.
  • They have to show me their unlocked phone anytime I ask. I check who they are talking to and what they are posting.
  • My favorite rule of all: If it feels wrong, it probably is. When in doubt ask me.
  • I limit the use of it as well: homework first, not at the dinner table etc.

 

One of the advantages I have is that my kids inadvertently rat each other out.  I actively listen to what they are saying, even to each other.  “Did you see Becca’s Snapchat story?”  hmm…I didn’t see that…”Becca show me your phone. Why am I not getting your Snapchat story?”  Please explains can be very scary concepts. (*giggling to myself at my own ingenuity!)

Thoughts?

So what about you? What are your thoughts on kids and social media?  Any tricks to keeping them safe that you want to pass on?

 

Should your child have a social media account?

5 Reasons You Don’t Need to Worry About Kids and Social Media

Why Social Media is Not Smart for Middle School Kids

 

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4 thoughts on “Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat oh my! Social Media is a Parent’s nightmare!

  1. Great post! My kids are younger so they are not in the social media world yet, thank goodness. There is a lot to worry about! I think your list of rules are spot on.

  2. Great post, Cynthia.

    Do you remember when teachers used to tell us that we won’t be walking around with calculators in our pockets all the time and that we just have to learn how to do math manually? That reality sure has changed. With it came a whole new blending of work and personal activities within the same pocket sized computers that are our cell phones.

    I’m finding it harder and harder to control my 16-year-old daughter’s social media activity, because she now needs her phone to do her homework. They have great math applications that act as graphic calculators, and kids are required to use electronic devices to complete work. As much as I can nag about turning notifications off during homework time, I keep catching her using Snapchat. What’s worse is that she uses group chats to ask questions about homework.

    I’m less worried about her online safety than I am about her addiction to social media, which seems completely out of control, no matter how many rules I try to set and implement.

    • I hear you! When I first started having kids in school, I had that mantra in the back of my head from my high school math teacher! It totally went against the grain when they needed more and more electronics just to do their homework.

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