At least a handful of times per week, I have a conversation with another parent about what ThirdParent does, why it’s important and how that other parent thinks about what her kids are doing on the internet and social media.
A comment that I hear a lot is, “Kayla doesn’t have a Facebook.” Alternatively, but almost as often, I hear, “I’m friends with Kayla on Facebook. I know that she isn’t doing anything bad.”
My response to those comments varies based on the situation, but my answers are less important than the mindset of the other parent in almost all of these cases. Parents often think of Facebook as synonymous for “social media” or “ways that people communicate on the internet other than email.” It’s not that surprising, really. Most parents that I know frequent one social network, and one only. That is Facebook. It’s natural for them to assume that if Kayla is doing friend-y stuff online she is doing it on Facebook.
94% of U.S. teens have a Facebook account, and while I haven’t seen this exact statistic, I’d bet that 80% of those teens have a social media account on at least one other network. Does Kayla like to be heard? She is probably on Twitter or has a blog on Tumblr. Is she into pictures? You might be able to find her on Instagram or Snapchat. Does she like humor, and cats? Ask her if she has a Reddit or YouTube account.
You can ask her, but she might not tell the truth. The fact of the matter is that many kids want to be somewhere that their parents aren’t. I know that I did when I was a kid. We see a lot of cases where a teen has a squeaky clean Facebook account but is much more carefree on other networks. They know you are watching.
Talk to Kayla about which social networks she is using, and how she can keep herself safe and out of trouble. If you suspect that there is more to the story than Kayla is telling you, drop us a line. We’re here to help.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.