Instagram. Pinterest. Twitter. Facebook. Snapchat. These days it seems that as soon as you learn the ins and outs of one social media site another one gets introduced as the latest and greatest way for your teens to stay connected with their friends. As overwhelming as it seems, parents of teenagers need to be involved in social media. Just as we stay up to speed on our kids grades, friends, curfews, and driving habits, our teens need our supervision online too. But to be an effective parent online, it’s important to behave in a way that won’t send your teen running off to set up a fake account that you don’t even know exists! Try these teen approved tips for staying active with your kids on social media:
Be a stalker. Not too long ago, my teenage daughter asked her dad if he was stalking her on Instagram. Truth be told, he probably was. But in this day and age, that’s not stalking, that’s called parenting! In our house, if our kids have a social media account, then both parents are going to follow and friend them. And it’s not so we can interact with them there. We can (and should) be doing that at home. Instead, it’s to help monitor their safety and teach them proper online social skills. To avoid any misunderstandings, let them know your purpose up front.
Don’t comment on their wall, status updates, or pictures unless they ask you to. Just because you’re their friend or follower, don’t think that you need to comment on everything (or anything) that they do! Instead, be a quiet passive observer. I’ll admit this is sounding pretty stalker-ish, but the goal is to be aware of what your kids are doing on social media sites without smothering them or drawing attention to your presence. If they ask you to be more involved, by all means go ahead. But otherwise just try to blend in with all of their other followers. [Read more...]