Social Media When?
One job of parents is to keep our children safe. As they age we move from monitoring their every move to teaching them how to keep themselves safe, shifting gradually through age-appropriate stages. We move from holding a toddler’s hand as we cross the street to getting our Kindergarten children to tell us when it is safe, and finally to letting kids cross the road and even help others do it safely.
These graduated steps happen in all aspects of safety, just as they do for social media. In a recent article, How To Teach Your Daughter To Stay Safe On Social Media, author, Lindsay Sealey outlines some key points worth considering by parents of girls and boys.
Sealey underscores our important parenting role,
“As adults, it is our responsibility to limit its risks
and do what we can to model and cultivate true connection…”
Her first suggestion is to “Delay entry into social media for as long as you can.” This is more easily done by considering your family’s ideas about the pros and cons of social media use and getting clear on your boundaries. Once your child knows the rules, and that you will be firm with them, there is less of a reason to test them. That being said, your child may well be witnessing social media on a friend’s device so discussing strategies can also be helpful.
Many parents are deciding to get their children smart phones for “safety reasons. ” There’s a big difference between safety and game-playing/social media, so be clear about your family’s decisions. If the phone is for safety, it doesn’t need games. If it is about gaming and social media, be clear about expectations and preparation. Often adding a device to a family adds disconnection and one more “thing” over which to argue.
This week, ask yourself these questions:
When is the right time for my child to have a phone?
When is the right time for my child to be on social media?
How will being on social media help my child? What are the harmful aspects of it?
How can I best prepare my child for the social media path?
What graduated steps will I take as my child ages on social media?
We encourage you to read Lindsay’s article here.
If you are curious about what strategies you can share with your kids, we are always here to answer your questions and give you real life parenting tools.