Social Media, although it has its benefits, can be a dangerous and sometimes inappropriate place for everyone, especially our teenage girls. Whether we like it or not, social media is here to stay. The best thing we can do as caregivers is help our teens navigate social media safely. Here are 5 tips to get you started:
- First and foremost, model the behavior you desire for your teen. Your teen is always watching. Your guidance in actions will be more meaningful than a “do as I say, not as I do” approach.
- Have a clear and transparent conversation about your expectations when it comes to social media. Teens need guidelines, and these guidelines need to be set early on. For example, maybe Instagram is allowed but Snapchat is not, or social media is only allowed after household chores are complete.
- Have an open phone and device policy. Account passwords should be shared with parents, and it should be expected that parents will look at accounts often and at random.
- Scroll together! More important than having full access to all accounts and devices, make device usage part of the family experience. Rather than having scrolling happen when your teen is away, incorporate this into your time together. For example, if you are sitting in the family room together doing nothing, this would be the time to share those memes or TikToks. You want your teen to feel comfortable sharing.
- Lean into the benefits of social media. Social media helps us connect with others. Be sure that your teen’s device habits reflect togetherness rather than isolation.