In today’s world, social media is popular, but sometimes it can lead to parenting problems. Kids want to use these sites and parents want to monitor them. Here’s a look at social media and parenting.
A place where kids can be kids?
Per Facebook’s terms of service, it states you have to be 13 years old to even have an account. Unfortunately, I’ve seen many kids who are related to other people that I know that have accounts and are well below 13. Most of the parents argue that they monitor their behavior, so it’s “okay” for them to have an account. Either way some kids just don’t understand how social media works. For an example, a teen in North Carolina made a post on Facebook complaining about her parents and how hard her life is. Little did she know that her parents could easily see her post and her dad put seven bullets into her laptop as punishment.
I’ve seen firsthand the types of posts kids make on Facebook. Some of it’s quite shocking and makes me worried that they think it’s okay to say these types of things. It also makes me mad at their parents because these posts are slipping by them. It’s easy to do if the parents have a lot of friends or are following a lot of things on Facebook, but I think there are things that can be done.
Parenting on social media.
Use the all the different features. Facebook has a great feature where you can follow literally everything a person does. It’s very easy to “subscribe” to someone’s activity and I think parents should be doing that on social media. This way the parents will get a notification every time their kid makes a post, likes a page, or posts a picture. It might sound overbearing but the reality is most kids can’t grasp the concept that once you post something online it’s nearly impossible to take it back.
It’s smart to be upfront about everything and first explain why. If you subscribe to your child’s Facebook and they end up realizing that you can see their every move on the site it might make them lash out. You need to explain to the why you are doing it and more importantly explain to them how these social websites work. Explain to them the different privacy settings so strangers can’t contact them and also tell them how future employees, and even colleges, might accept of reject them just purely based on their activity on these sites.
How I was parented then, and how it’s hard to parent now.
When I shared a family computer our instant messages and internet usage were monitored. I didn’t really mind back then because I was only using the computers for school work back then. I really can’t say how it would have been if social websites existed back then but I do know that it kept me for lurking into places I shouldn’t have been. We had the computer in the kitchen area with the screen readily available to be seen by anyone who walked by. This kept us from surfing the web which I think is a great parenting tactic.
Now it’s much different and harder to parent online activity. This is because it’s not uncommon for teens, and even in some cases preteens, to have cell phones or other devices that can easily connect to the internet. There are parental controls on most devices but too many times I’ve seen kids be able to bypass these controls. I know one mother that collects every cell phone before her kids go to bed and that’s great parenting. In the end it’s a privilege not a right to use the internet and I think enforcing that will keep kids more in check. It’s all about keeping the children safe.