Parenting certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. Our parents faced them, just as their parents before them.
But I must admit, parenting a child in this age of social media presents a very unique set of never-before-seen challenges.
Kids today have access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and Kik (along with any other platform du jour I failed to mention), so it’s important to stay committed to learning new strategies and incorporating fresh ideas to help our children better navigate the social media landscape.
That way, we can all be more effective in helping our children develop healthy relationships with the online world… while (hopefully) avoiding the potential pitfalls in the process.
Take a look at the practical advice below presented by Jelly Telly.
The NY Times published an article that dives into the world of children and screen addiction. The article quotes statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study which states, “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.”
With screens occupying so much of our children’s (and our) lives, how do we help our children develop a healthy relationship with their devices and the online world? It’s never too early to start conversations about online behavior and model good choices for your kids. One dad gives us 5 tips for parenting in a social media culture below.
5 ways you can be an effective parent in a social media culture:
1. Be a social media user.
One of the biggest disadvantages of being a parent in this social media age is you don’t have time to spend on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, Yik Yak, Tumblr and more. While you don’t need to be an active user on every platform, you should take the time to tinker with many of them. Read websites like Mashable that keep up to date on every social media site you can imagine. Equip yourself to speak their language. When you start talking about MyTwitBook, your kids immediately check out.
Another great resource? Your kids. Ask them what platforms they are using and have them show you how they work. Use some common sense to identify potential problem areas as well as features that could be useful. (“Disappearing” messages on apps like Snapchat don’t really disappear and “anonymous” apps like Yik Yak and After School aren’t really anonymous, etc). Privacy, location-based services, inappropriate texting, and cyberbullying are conversations that are a must as your children grow up. While it’s too much to cover here, a quick Google search will give you the information you need.
You don’t need to be a social media expert – whatever that might be – but take the time to understand the platforms your kids are on. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite app.
2. Friend/follow your kids on every platform.
Follow your kids and know their username and password on every platform they use. Set guidelines for when they can and can’t use the phone.
Kids will post inappropriate things and, like we skinned our knees when falling off our bike, they will seemingly dust the dirt off and try again. The problem with that analogy is a small scar on our knee only hurts us and will eventually go away. Mistakes on the internet can potentially hurt others and they last forever. Help your kids understand that social media is not a private thing.
Go over to Jelly Telly to read the rest of the article, and take a look around their site if you’re looking for some good, wholesome Christian entertainment.