If you’re the parent of a teenager, I’m sure you’d be less than thrilled to see a blog post titled The 40 Most Popular Social Networking Sites of the World. Go ahead – click that link.
Is it possible to monitor your child’s use on 40 different social networks? Of course not. At any given time, it’s not even possible to know which networks your child is using unless you have monitoring software installed on all your child’s devices. How then can a parent who wants to have “the social media talk” with a child lay the groundwork for responsible social media use? Here are three universal rules to keep in mind as you talk to your child and five things you should never do as a social media user of any age:
Be a good person – It is very important to explain the downside of bullying to kids, whether it is in the real world or online. Almost as important is to carefully manage one’s public image. People checking out your online profile, including college admissions officers and future employers, will form an opinion of you.
Treat everything you do, post and say as if it’s public – Even if your privacy settings are locked up, something you write or post can be reposted by one of your friends, making it public.
Stay safe – Be aware that there are people out there who are up to no good.
Things You Should Never Do:
Bullying – Bullying is wrong, obviously, but kids should be aware that the penalties for bullying are becoming more severe. Schools and even police officers are becoming extra vigilant in an attempt to curtail bullying, especially online. Even good-natured teasing could be construed as bullying, so be very careful what you post.
Illegal Activities – Don’t post pictures or talk about illegal activities online. Don’t even joke about it, as you don’t know whether other people will get the joke.
Negative Comments About School or Teachers – Social media is not a good place to vent your frustration. Keep your thoughts about your school and teachers to yourself and you won’t run afoul of the authorities.
Reveal Too Much Personal Information – Predators may be looking for someone exactly like you. Be careful not to disclose your location or who you are going to be with or other personal details if there is any chance that someone else could use that information to bring you harm.
Threats – Schools take threats of any kind very seriously. Don’t make threats, even if you’re joking.
Contact ThirdParent any time for help and resources for monitoring teen internet activity.