Photo: I didn't have to live with the power of Social Media in my child rearing years...
Social Media is fun and informative. It can also lead to suicide, rape and predatory behaviors. You must monitor your child’s social medial accounts to search for bullying behavior, predatory behavior, unacceptable sexual behavior, (drug abuse to name a few) which could cost your child’s life.
If you aren’t interested in this, I guarantee the rapists, bullies etc are. They use the power of social media to intimidate, seduce, enthrall and encourage inappropriate activity.
Children need parents, not friends. I know you just skimmed that... Children need parents, not friends.
Rules: These will be hard, but if you start early…
- All smart phones, tablets and computers MUST have Parent Controls. If you don’t set them up its like leaving a loaded firearm on the kitchen table. Do you trust your child to do the right thing? If you do, you are simply being negligent at best and dangerous at worst. Google “Parent Controls” for your MAC, PC or Android devices.
- Talk to your children about why you have controls over their devices. They must learn that until they are socially mature they live under your rules.
- Parents must have all children’s passwords for their accounts. There are apps that lets you know if they change any passwords.
- Parents must monitor children’s posts, photos, calls and location. How do you know who’s stalking your child? There are apps that help: https://www.kidguard.com
- Be strong and have honest conversations on a regular basis. Try something unique: Have dinner together without any smart phones. Talk to each other. You love them so learn about their lives. This will help keep them safe.
- Don’t be lazy! I know this is a pain, but you decided to have children. Protect them. It’s your duty.
- Let them know why......
Thanks for being involved. Your schools have resources as well. It is alway better to stop a problem from evolving than have to sort through the ashes of a crisis.
Update: I had an engaging conversation with a recent, really smart, college grad. Her take on this was I was wrong! She felt that if you try to control and monitor your child you will make them not trust you (fact - you aren’t trusting others) and drive them into more private, more dangerous online forums (or buy another private phone that has no parent controls). I take her at her word. But…. I told her I can’t just trust a child and we negotiated an agreement. Under 14 year old, control is OK if you spell out the why of the control as well as make yourself available to talk about anything. Communication is the key from an early age. If kids don’t feel they can talk to you, control over their actions is pretty much over. So the above Rules for under 14, and IF they prove themselves responsible, remove some or all of the restrictions.
P.S. Even after 14 I would still check in on their online stuff from time to time…. sorry, but as a child once myself I would have loved some control over my rowdy acts. Thank gosh I lived through them.
"Aiming for a Safer Society"