Your Teen and Social Media

Your Teen and Social Media

Let’s discuss three areas that can help you as a parent better understand and connect with your teen when it comes to using Social Media. It can be very daunting for some parents when their children know more than they do about the Social media platforms available on the Internet and Smartphones. Here are some tips to help level the playing field. 

1. Keep an open dialog with your teen. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. What app are you using? Who are you talking to? How do you know them? Do you have any concerns about using that platform? What are they? Listen when they talk to you. Resist being judgmental about what they are using despite what you may have heard. Your goal in talking with them is to create a non-judgmental space where your child is comfortable communicating with you. 

2. Encourage boundaries using Social Media. One the the best ways to do this is to model it for your child by having boundaries on your own usage. Set an example for them and share with them what you are doing. Maybe you leave your phone outside your bedroom so as to not use it at night. Perhaps as a household, you can have the rule that no cell phones are allowed at the table. Of course, one given boundary is built in by many Social Media apps. For example, you have to be at least 13 years old to have a Facebook account. Don’t allow your child to break that rule. It’s there for a very good reason. Talk about Catfish accounts, fake accounts, spam posts, and the like. Pick their brain. They have probably heard about these. Make sure they are aware that not everyone is who they seem to be on the Internet.

3. Portray a positive presence. Talk with your teen about the value of having an honest and responsible online presence. Discuss who may see your teen’s profile and comments in the future (potential employees, family members, etc). Explore the topic of mental health and how comments, posts, and questions can make another person feel.


Finally, as a parent, educate yourself as to the various Social Media that are out there. New ones are popping up all the time so it takes some work. Google the name of it. Download the app. Make your own account. Just be wise. There are some platforms you and your teen would just be better off avoiding altogether. Talk with a friend or fellow parent about various social media and how they are used.