Social media has been a pillar in teen communication for close to 10 years now and it is not going away. It is actually going to increase and getting a grip on safety management is important. There are many teens that only know how to communicate with others via social media. A recent study highlights that social media can be a cause for depression in the teenage population. While this is true, we are hear to discuss the safety of your teen on social media. I know you are thinking you will just keep your teen away from it and I assure you they will find a way to use it. If you haven't been following me long, you should know I engage with you and speak from a positive outlook.
1. Talk to your teen about the dangers of social media
This may seem like a no brainer, however, how you have this conversation is important. This is a conversation that will be recurring. This means you should always engage in conversation with your teenager about social media. I know you saw the word danger and thought of the most traumatizing story you could tell your teen to scare them off. I want to kindly stop you right here and tell you that tactic isn't the most effective. After all, effectiveness is what we want. Talk to them about not sharing personal information with strangers, not being lured to places even a mutual friend is involved or mentioned. Be sure to explain to them that many people can mask their true identity online. Ask them if they've seen or heard of catfish. Engage in a dialogue around things they've seen on social media that was a safety issue to them. Ask them to share how they keep themselves safe online. If you have a story to share about privacy or safety, do share during this conversation. What ever you do, just be genuine and not pushy. The other goal from this conversation is for them to come to you if a safety concern comes up.
2. Ask them to show you how it works
This is a pretty sneaky tip (if you already know), yet, it is eye opening. Teenagers love to feel like the expert so let them teach you. Let them show you the best way to use apps or filters. Ask them about new apps and which app is their favorite and why. Get involved in their social media world. There may be a lot there that you aren't aware of.
3. Give them limits
Too much of anything is not a good thing. This definitely applies to social media. Did you know that studies show teens are averaging nine hours a day on social media? 9 hours! That is a lot of social media time. This time can interfere with homework, sleep, and other activities Setting limits with your teen is the most effective way to see results. Sit down with your teen and as a family, discuss the expectations for social media usage. Please notice that I did not say rules. If you use the word rules with a teenager, their specially embedded rebel antenna gets charged. Trust me and avoid using that word. Social media contracts The above three tips should only be the beginning of the ongoing safety conversation that has to occur with your teen. Social media isn't going away. Give your teen the tools they need to be successful managing it. If your teen has engaged in less favorable behavior on social media, you may find my to be useful.
Be sure to ask how many social media platforms your teen is has an account with. It could be useful to cap the amount of platforms they are on in order to keep their attention and energy balanced.
With love from your favorite teen therapist,