Allowing your kids to start using social media doesn’t have to be a huge stress on you. Using the below suggestions can help ease the transition and allow you to safely and responsibly guide (and protect) the ones who matter most.
1. Determine if it is really needed or valuable.
While Facebook isn’t a “need,” my wife and I do see value in our 14-year-old daughter having it. One reason is that her grandparents are heavy Facebook users and it provides a fun way for them to stay in contact and share what is going on in life. We also see as valuable the opportunity to create a social footprint with our guidance that will help her, not hurt her when she’s older.
While this idea isn’t as crucial for teens, at some point it might be. So, we see how a social media presence can impact opportunities and are choosing to help set our daughter up for success.
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Once opening the door to social media, my wife and I didn’t want to throw it wide and say “Here you go!” We had to set some guidelines, as well as expectations. Giving a teen free access to anything may not be a good idea.
We also see as valuable the opportunity to create a social footprint with our guidance that will help our daughter, not hurt her when she’s older.
If our daughter uses these tools according to our agreement, then she is good. But violate the agreement and consequences will follow. And every contract says, in writing, that we have access to passwords and the ability to view any of it at all times, which is a responsible move all parents should consider.
3. Take additional safeguards, if needed.
The above suggestions are enough to get you started and help you safely and responsibly introduce your kids to social media. But some of you may want additional measures or info to help you. Here are a few products and services that allow an additional level of supervising and protection:
Teenology.com is a website that shares great info on digital safety for teens. One of the products created by the people who started Teenology is TeenSafe. TeenSafe is an app that allows parents to monitor kids’ digital lives from a computer.