A Guide to Introducing Social Media to Kids

    Introducing your kids to social media is a challenging aspect of parenting. It should be done correctly. Encouraging them to start developing these proper habits from the beginning will ensure your children lead a positive and healthy social life.

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    We’ve talked about the dangers of The Social, however, there are many positives to be had with proper social media usage. If you have kids, you should make sure you’re social media savvy yourself to help them use it wisely.

    Introducing your kids to social media depends on their age. If you have young kids and they like to play with the tablet, you should be sure to set up security and privacy on that tablet so that nothing inappropriate can be viewed by accident. Loading it with kid-friendly apps that encourage learning for their age range is a good way to use it too. But no matter what, young children must spend little, if not zero, time on technology. 

    The new messengers that have come out allow your kids to safely engage only with approved family members or family friends. However, young children don’t need this. Kids under the age of 13 shouldn’t be using social media. If they want to talk to Grandpa and Grandma, for example, call them together using any video chat program you have.

    Once your kids turn 13 though, they’re allowed by most sites to join. Introducing your kids to social media is a challenging aspect of parenting. It should be done correctly. Encouraging them to start developing these proper habits from the beginning will ensure your children lead a positive and healthy social life.

    #1: Be a Good Role Model. 

    Show them by example what good usage is and what isn’t. If you’re constantly glued to Facebook and Instagram, your kids will model that behavior. Make sure your kids see the positive side of social media as well as how to interact outside of it.

    #2: Let Them Have Some Independence. 

    You should always talk to your kids about smart social media usage, like not adding strangers or posting personal information. But when they join social media sites, don’t spy. You can (and should!) add your child, but avoid being a stage-5-clinger and constantly comment, like, or hover around. Do keep an eye out and address anything inappropriate.

    #3: Make it Private. 

    You don’t need to become a spy on your child’s social media if you set the privacy on every app. Make sure your child understands the privacy settings though. Don’t just restrict everything. Discuss it together so they know why you’re doing it.

    #4: Set Clear Rules. 

    Ideally, before you hand your tween or teen a device to use as theirs, you should establish clear rules about device usage and social media conduct. Let them know what apps are ok and what aren’t, and tell them why. Show them examples in the news of how predators have come for children that were careless about their privacy so they understand the real dangers that social media can have if you’re not smart about it. 

    By staying involved and working with your kids to use social media correctly, you’ll find your kids using it for all the right reasons instead of all the wrong ones. For a social media app your whole family can trust to help keep you all connected, choose S’moresUp!