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Managing Your Child's Social Media Exposure

​​​Managing Social Media

 
  • Managing Social Media

    At what age should parents allow their child to use social media?

    I think there are several things to consider when letting a child on social media.  I don't know if there is a great age to start this.  I do think there are several things you want to think about.  One again is earlier the better, because I think you have a lot more influence as they are younger.  The other thing you want to think about is social maturity.  How do they do with their friends? Do they make good decisions with their friends?  Do they make good friends?  Do they pick up on social cues?  And if they're doing well in that arena, then maybe we can start transitioning them to having friends online.

    What social media platforms should parents start with?

    I do think its good to start slowly and maybe start with one site.  I don't believe anything is created evil, right?  I think its all about how we use it, however there are sites on there that do a better job with privacy settings, that do a better job with blocking, that do a better job in just monitoring things that are posted in general.  And Facebook is a great one.  A lot of kids don't like Facebook because they realized their parents are getting on Facebook, but I think that is a great one to start.  Some of those like Instagram, some of the more popular ones do a great job. 

    Two that I'm concerned about..  They are called kik messenger and ask.fm.  Not that they're totally terrible,  but I do think there is less monitoring and less privacy settings so something to be concerned about if that is one your child is on frequently. 

    What are some rules parents should instill regarding social media?

    Setting those no electronic zones, where there is just times when we turn off the phone.  I also think it's so important to monitor.  Often times I see parents make the same mistake, which is they either monitor too frequently so they are constantly seeing what their child is on or they're not monitoring at all. And so I think it's good to be right in the middle.  You're supervising you're checking in, you're providing consequences and you're communicating. 

    It's not a question of if your child is going to make mistakes on social media, it's when.  And I think the urge as a parent is to then deny access to social media.  And the analogy I like to use is you know if your child is on a bike and they fall down, you don't tell them not to get back on that bike.  They get back on, they try, we supervise.  And we want to be doing the exact same thing with social media. ​

 

Internet Safety

 
  • Internet Safety

    More and more parents are coming to me about internet safety because there are such concerns out there.

    I talk about the big three which are pedophiles, cyber-bullying, and sexting.

    Although these things are concerning they are definitely not the norm.

    Kids are getting online more and more and kids are always before the curve when it comes to internet safety.

    I think it's really important that parents do get educated so we can prevent those major concerns from happening.

    At What Age Should Parents Allow Their Child To Be Online?

    I always go to the earlier the better.

    I think that, I'll give you an example from my own personal life. I have a 5 year old niece who already has a tablet.

    Currently she's not online but she's absolutely using games but those games are being monitored.

    I think once they have an electronic device, they can absolutely start using online services.

    I think at a very early age it needs to be monitored consistently all the time and those electronics should be in an open area, like the living room or when you're in the kitchen.

    What Are Some Ways Parents Can Protect Their Child Online?

    The first thing you need to do is educate yourself.

    There are a lot of great resources online to get you to learn about the different sites, learn about the privacy settings, learn about what's age-appropriate and what are some sites that you should prevent them from using.

    I think another great thing is to just look at the software that is out there. There are a lot of great resources by your phone carrier, by the electronics provider, and just things you can find on the internet.

    I think the most important thing is to just talk to your child. I think, often times, parents make mistakes about telling their child all of their concerns when I think it's way more important for your child to be telling you what they're concerned about,  what they know about internet safety, so that you feel more confident when they're online.

    Are There Any Rules Parents Should Use When Their Child is Online?

    One great one is just setting a time limit. Usually, when they're younger, I think they should be doing more activities and less social media and internet time. As they get older that ratio might meet.

    For your teenagers, they might be spending just as much time online as they're spending on other activities.

    I think it's great to also have a no electronic zone. Dinner time, any kind of family time, no one has their electronics at the table, and I think it's great for parents to also implement that rule as well.

    One thing I like to tell parents is after a certain time, maybe 8 o'clock, for teenagers it might be 10 or 11, but the electronics go away. They don't need to take those electronics to sleep.​​

Screen Time;Social Media Behavioral Health

 

 

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