The day has finally come; your family has agreed that you can use social media. You’ve talked with your trusted adult, they’ve helped you set up your accounts, you’ve worked through the privacy settings and now it’s time to start connecting with your friends and all the celebrities you’ve been wanting to follow. But wait! Your trusted adult just threw you for a loop. You have to follow and connect with them?
Wait, What!!!! Who wants mom or dad following them? You Do!
We know it’s not cool having Mom, Dad or your trusted adult following you and commenting on every post you make but we do want you to be responsible and to have them connect with you. It’s for your own safety. We know parents and grandparents can be embarrassing when you post a selfie and they make a “love you so much, you look beautiful” comment, adding in emoji’s and hearts. That’s why when we talk to parents we mention that and talk to them about being connected to you and also respecting what you are posting and what comments they are sharing on your posts. We also talk about the digital footprint they are creating for you by posting what you may see as embarrassing photos. There has to be open dialogue about what you as the teen/tween want and they should be respectful of your wishes. Along with that you have to be respectful of your parents social media guidelines & rules and their wishes for social media. Communication is key! It’s a conversation you should be having before you open your accounts and one to continue with even once you have the accounts and are using them.
Another safety part to social media that is very important is that you need to give your passwords to your parents or trusted adult. Now that doesn’t mean we want them to go behind your back and log in. We encourage you to sit with your parents, have open conversations about who you are connecting with, what you are posting, what your friends are posting, and taking a look at your social media accounts together. You may think your parents don’t need to see what your friends are posting but they are also helping to create your digital image and footprint, especially if they are tagging you in posts. If you have friends who are always using bad language and posting inappropriate things, that too may impact you and how people view you. Remember what happens online stays online.
You live in a digital word and by connecting with your parents it gives them an opportunity to see who your friends are and what your interest are. Studies have shown it can actually help to build the connection between kids and their parents. It’s one more thing you can connect and talk about. If you love a particular music artist and your parents do too, ask them if they saw the latest tweet they put out, or did the see the “teaser” snapchat story for the new video the group is about to release. There are lots of positive ways to use social media and it’s important that if you are online and on social media, whether your parents are using snapchat to post or not, they need to have your information and be connected with you. Just think of the daily laughs you and your family could be sharing as you use and send each other funny snapchat facial filters.
If you really don’t want mom or dad following you online, sit and discuss it with them. It’s all part of social media responsibility and showing your parents that you are taking this seriously. Show them you do want to be #SociallySafe. If you and your parents are really struggling with having them connected with you, you can help your parents create fake accounts. That way you and your parent or trusted adult know that it’s them but if your friends were to look through your friend feed and see who you were connected to, no one would know that it was your Mom/Dad or other trusted adult. Create a fake username together, and use a picture of something you like as profile picture. It doesn’t have to be your face. That way you are doing the right with and connecting with your parents and yet your friends won’t know that you have. It’s a win-win and a perfect way to help you be #SociallySafe. Connecting with your parents and giving them your social media account passwords every time you change them needs to be a part of your family’s social media contract.
As always we want you to have fun on social media, use it for good and to be #SociallySafe