The Screen is a dangerous monster we’ve discussed, but it has a sister…The Social! This monster of technology is one created from the dark side of social media. Understanding it is how you can help protect your kids from the many pitfalls it creates.
Social media is essential in today’s world, much like using technology and devices. You can’t shut your kids off from it, or they’ll lack the skills they need in the job market once the time comes. Your best line of defense is to teach them well on how to defeat The Social when it comes to negatives.
Of course, as a parent, despite your best intentions, you’re horribly uncool. We hate to break it to you, but it’s true. Think about how you felt about your parents when you were this age! Back then though, our parents didn’t have to worry about The Social. Too much usage of social media can affect your child’s self-esteem. It can affect yours too!
That’s why you must come together to overpower The Social! Here’s how (Click here for a Cheat Sheet):
1 Set limits. The only way you can keep The Social from taking over is to set boundaries from the start. Having a defined time period where social media can be used will help keep your child from getting sucked in. You should exert these limits upon yourself too. Single parents should coordinate with their ex’s to ensure this is upheld in their home as well.
2 Engage with your child’s online world. To defeat The Social, you need to know more than just what apps they’re using. You need to BE in those apps, without looking conspicuous of course. Ask your child what they like about the apps they use. Of course, if you notice any dangerous ones, delete them.
3 See what they’re posting. Don’t leave blinders on. Watch what your kids are posting online. Many times, you won’t have to worry, but if something seems inappropriate, talk to your child about why they shouldn’t post these kinds of things. Risky photos, illegal activity, or nasty comments about others should never be tolerated.
4 Know how they’re using social media. Are your kids watching videos that are a bad influence? Or are they engaging with other kids from school in a positive manner? You may find that it’s not all good or bad when it comes to their usage. To keep The Social from causing problems, understanding their usage needs will help you give them the right influence so they can use it with good intentions.
5 Get into what they’re into. Express an interest in what they’re into, both online and offline. When you do, you’ll find your kids are more likely to share these interests with you. Online, you’ll see the videos they like to watch or even if they’re posting things themselves. Maybe the things they post aren’t problematic, but their settings could be public, leaving them vulnerable to predators, another dangerous aspect of The Social. Teach them why they need to be careful so that only friends and family can see their private lives.
6 Keep a keen eye for negativity. Sometimes your kids might be doing all the right things on social media, but there may be someone that antagonizes them. That’s why the right setting matter on The Social. But it can also be someone they know personally, like another kid at school, that is saying terrible things about them. By being involved in social media with your kids, you can help them navigate negativity.
The main takeaway here is to be involved without hovering. Be approachable and knowledgeable, and your kids will appreciate your strength when dealing with The Social.