teen social media talk to teens

Talk to Your Teens and Tweens About Using Social Media

Part of a social media safe use strategy for teens and tweens needs to include their parents being willing and able to talk to them about it. As social media can be a tough learning curve and it is always changing at a fast pace, parents should try their best to learn what they can and stay on top of the current social media trends. Its not easy, but it is a worthwhile undertaking. Here are some tips you can use to talk and connect with your teens and tweens about social media:

Look for opportunities to learn what you can about the social media your teen or tween is using and use it yourself. If they want to be on FaceBook, get your page up and running too. Being a part of a social media networks is the best way to learn about the social media world. When you know more about social media, it will be easier to talk to your teens and tweens about it.

Talk about privacy and what your teens and tweens should not share on the internet. Go over the privacy rules on the social networks where they are members. Help them set the privacy rules on the service, so they clearly are not sharing their posts with strangers.

New technology is changing the way we talk about and keep our kids safe. With iPads, smart phones and laptops everywhere you turn, the days of keeping the ‘family computer’ in a public place is not a strategy you want to try to employ. You’ll set yourself up to fail considering schools are allowing kids to get these devices for free. So, it is even more important that you set the rules about passwords. Explain to your teen or tween that you will respect their privacy, up to a point. Having their passwords is a safety concern. So, they will be honest about their passwords or they can leave their devices at school.

Make your social media messages to your teens and tweens clear. Share your expectations, set goals, role-play if you need to and set consequences. Follow through if your tweens or teens give you a reason to take that step. Otherwise, give them enough space to engage in social media and enjoy its benefits.

Talk to your teen about the consequences of poor judgment when it comes to using their social media accounts. Have any of their friends had to face any of these consequences? How do they feel about it? What would they have done differently? Ask open ended questions and try not to judge so your teen feels comfortable about talking to you.

Hold your tongue when you see things on the social network that you may not agree with, but aren’t necessarily wrong. You may not agree with some of the things that your teen is saying, but you don’t have to agree. This is their forum to be an individual person. Step back and allow them to be themselves. Of course, there are going to be gray areas. Think them through very carefully before bringing them up in a conversation with your tweens and teens as you do not want to put the trust they have in you on the line.

Talk to your teen or tween about a movie trailer you saw or something similarly fun. Let them know it is a movie you think they would be interested in. Share the trailer with them through social media. In this way, social media can add to the fun your family has as your children grow older. It doesn’t have to be just another chore for parents.

Continue to have conversations about social media and ‘what is happening today’ regularly. Bring up things you see online or you hear about through other parents. Make the conversations light and not personal. Really listen to what your tween and teen has to say and enjoy the person they are becoming.

Please share your thoughts, ideas and advice about how to talk to teens and tweens about social media with our community of parents in the comments area below.

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