Three Things You Can Do Today To Make Your Teens Safer On Social Media
Social media or not. That has been an ongoing question in my house since my 19 year old daughter turned 12. Let me start by saying this: I do NOT have the answers to all of your social media woes, just some advice from a mom who also happens to be a public school teacher and a social media influencer. This has been and evolving journey to find the right answers. I have read tons of articles, but have learned the most from watching my own children and their friends.
- Never let your children sleep with their phones in their room. I live by the philosophy “The fewer rules, the better”. Kids get sick of rules. It seems that, everywhere they turn, some grown up is shoving more rules in their faces. Because of this, I am careful to choose important rules that I know I will not bend. My children must plug their phones in and charge them on my bedside table each night before I go to bed. I let them keep their phones until midnight on Fridays. This rule still applies through school breaks and summer. The only difference is that I allow them to keep their phones until midnight on Fridays and Saturdays during the summer.
- This has been our rule from the beginning. My reason for this is simple. Most of the “I’m bored so I’m going to ask random people to talk to me” posts happen after everyone’s parents are in bed. If I keep their phones during this time, then it avoids a ton of risk of inappropriate posts. This also allows me time to look through their posts and the posts of their friends.
- Learn the platforms. Learn all about the social media platforms your children are using. If your kids think you’re savvy on the sites they love the most; they will be less likely to participate in activity that you wouldn’t approve of. I like for my kids to truly believe I have eyes in the back of my head.
- Stay in their business. My kids are 19, 13, and 11 years old. They are all on social media. I look through their social media accounts from their devices, daily. Yes, daily! I am their mom and, no matter how un-cool it may be or how many of their friends’ moms DON’T snoop in their accounts; am still there. Now, I do not look at my 19 year old daughter’s phone, ever. It’s really not my business, but my youngest two children get watched over. I’m not sneaky about it; I’m open about it. They know that I’m going to do it and it is just part of our routine. They hated it when they first got their phones, but now it is just what we do. I am also aware that there are tons of messages that I miss because I’m not constantly looking over their shoulders all day long, but I am comfortable with what I am able to access.
I hope this helps you navigate this scary and, often confusing world of social media with your tweens/teens. If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to leave them in the comments below. I love hearing what has worked for you and your family.