The negative side of parenting kids with social media isn’t the easiest subject to talk about but I’ve had it on my heart to start the conversation because this whole device thing threw our family into complete chaos last year.
Here are 5 lies parents believe about kids and social media.
If you’re a parent with a pre-teen or teen and struggling with this issue you are NOT alone.
Lie #1 We don’t need to have an actual device and social media contract. That’s overkill. My child is a “good” kid and knows what’s expected. He/She has heard me talk about action of others online is enough.
Your child may be a good kid but even good kids make mistakes and need guidance.
There is so much of a gray area involved around the internet and social media that it DOES need to be spelled out so parents and children alike have expectations and boundaries to refer to when an issue arises.
There are many options for agreements. Find several you like and customize to fit your family’s needs. I share our family’s device agreement in this post:
Have clear set boundaries and expectations that can be edited and updated when necessary.
Lie #2 I didn’t want to buy my child a smart phone so young but he/she NEEDED it for emergencies. How will I get ahold of them?
Okay, okay, you know what’s coming. I tried to tell myself this lie once my oldest reached 7th grade and almost every single child had a phone but who are we kidding?
The majority of the time most children use their phone it’s NOT for emergency calls but for texting friends, looking up photos, and keeping up online.
If we truly were concerned about emergencies and only communicating when we must reach our child we have the option of a flip phone. (insert chuckle here) I threatened my daughter with a flip phone last year during our growing pains of her new device and contemplated making a video titled, “Uh oh…you get a flip phone” but decided against it.
If you choose to give your child a device for whatever reason be honest with the purpose of it. This helps when establishing a realistic relationship between the device, your child, and family.
Lie #3 Those scary stories you see on the news and Facebook only happen to children with bad parents or broken homes.
Talk to any Crime Stoppers or your local police department and they will give you a different story of “good” suburban kids who’ve been targeted by predators.
Lie #4 My child’s account is set to private so he/she so it’s safe and strangers won’t have access to them.
My daughter’s (and my own) Instagram are set to private and although they have to approve someone they still see the nasty profile picture. Once that image goes through their eyes it’s there. I was checking on my daughter’s account and saw a request from a picture with a close-up naked derriere.
A definite down side of allowing even the most responsible child with this or other social media. I’ve gone back and forth with this one.
Lie #5 My baby will NOT make those hideous duck lips and seductive poses like the other girls on social media.
Even little “princesses” can fall prey to the massive pressure to look like images on television and their newsfeed.
Been there. done that.
Never say never.
Be patient yet firm, set realistic expectations, and know your why for those boundaries.
Keep the conversation going with your child and don’t assume he or she gets it the first time. Remember YOUR teen years?
I do and for some reason my parents would tell me what would happen and I’d do it anyway at times and keep doing it until the consequence wasn’t worth the crime.
Don’t lie to yourself about kids and social media.
Know what your child is looking at and who they’re talking with online just like you would do with in person relationships.
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