Teens And Social Media: How To Protect Your Teenager Online | Mandy Majors | Episode 70
Parents worry about teens and social media. You probably wonder why they are so attached to it and why it causes so much anxiety. Actually, social media plays a role in teens lives in many ways, both good and bad. So, whether you worry about social media and trafficking, social media and bullying or are simply wondering how to protect your teenager online, Mighty Parenting podcast hosts Judy Davis and Sandy Fowler have your back. They are talking to expert Mandy Majors to find out what parents need to know about social media.
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A Favorite Quote from the Show:
“Be the safe place for your kid. Teach them to come to you, to report things they see on social media.”
High Points of Teens and Social Media and How to Protect Your Teenager Online
Parents often dismiss social media as being stupid but it’s the culture our kids are growing up in and we need to understand it. Even if we don’t allow them to have social media accounts they will be exposed to it.
Saying no to your child using social media is an option but it’s not a solution to protecting them.
You can delay the phone or social media access as long as you want but you cannot delay the conversations about it.
Our kids see everything, even murders being live streamed. We need to help them learn how to manage this world. We need to help them learn how to process what they’re experiencing.
Parents can empower themselves and get the information they need by using social media themselves. You don’t have to immerse yourself but spend a little time in their world.
Even kids who don’t have social media can experience FOMO (fear of missing out).
The way to keep your child safe online is to have conversations in your home.
You can have restrictions, block things, do random checks, use monitoring apps but bad stuff comes through. So, go ahead and do those things but also have the conversations. Remember, if you want them to come to you, you have to be open to hearing what they tell you without judgement or freaking out. We need to teach them when to come to us and reward them with more freedom when they do.
There are key conversations you need to have before they start on social media AND continue the conversations over time.
Many gaming programs are also social media. There are chat areas for the gamers. Teach them they need to stay in the public area and teach them that if someone tries to move you into a private area they should never go. These are online strangers who can pretend to be anyone.
Mandy’s family does not allow anyone to have phones in the bedrooms. We all need a break from screens, we need to focus on sleep and parents need to model this and other healthy behaviors for our kids.
When you see things on a screen that make you feel sad or scared or jealous, talk it over with your kids. This lets them see it affects you too and helps open other conversations.
Music.ly is essentially a social media platform and gives them the ability to communicate with a stranger. Be aware that anytime your child is online and can connect with others they are at risk. You need to be having conversations with them.
Questions to ask your child:
What platform do you want to use?
Why do you want to use it?
How does it work?
How do you connect with people on it?
What would you do if a stranger dm (direct messages) you?
Would you show me how this works?
Snapchat is a platform that should be reserved for older, trustworthy kids. Also, be aware that although the snaps disappear, anything can be screen shot so nothing truly disappears online.
Be specific about what you want them to report. If you used this list then you would know if your child is not reporting to you because they will see something from this list every day. This gives you great opportunities to have conversations with them about a variety of things and about what’s appropriate to post, etc.
Come to me if you see:
Anyone in a bathing suit or less
Anyone threatening someone
Anything about kissing, dating or marriage
Resources Mentioned in Show:
TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication
Mandy Majors graduated from Indiana University with a BA in political science and criminal justice. She is the author of TALK: A Practical Approach to Cyberparenting and Open Communication and is the founder and executive director of nextTalk, a nonprofit organization passionate about helping families develop open communication to keep kids safe online. Mandy has been happily married to her best friend, Matt, for eighteen years, and they have two kids (ages ten and fourteen).
Judy Davis and Sandy Fowler are entrepreneurs who help people live better lives. After creating DASIUM they realized they could help parents avoid the challenges and pain they experienced. Mighty Parenting is what families need to get real, relevant information about raising teens and parenting young adults in today's world.
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