Social media can be a monster. A parent’s worst nightmare. The internet age sets the stage for many scary possibilities. Embarrassing messages can be kept alive forever. Predators and identity thieves are always on the prowl. And criminal prosecution can be the consequence of a youthful mistake.
It’s important to know that kids are still developing. They are still trying to decipher right from wrong and sometimes outside pressure makes these lines really unclear. The internet is not going away anytime soon, so it’s important that your child knows how to use it appropriately. And it’s your job to help them how to do so.
Every parent’s definition of inappropriate is different. To you, it may mean the use of vulgar and aggressive language. To someone else, it may mean exchanging suggestive photos or messages. All of these things can be included in your definition too. Whether it be suggestive photos, vulgar language, or a questionable internet history, if red flags pop up, you should address them with your child.
Don’t hang-up. Listen to your child. Always address the situation calmly. It is never a good idea to react before you have context. You should be frank and open with your child about your concerns and how you see the situation. Consider that they may not know the consequences of their actions.
Adjust the settings. It’s okay to place limits on your child’s social media use. Limiting screen-time, making accounts private, and not friending strangers are all great ways to help your child create a safe social media environment. If your child is experiencing problems from a bully or constant unwelcome messages, utilize the block feature on social media sites. You can’t control someone else’s social media, but you can help your child control theirs.
Place yourself on Speed-dial. Literally and figuratively. Avoiding uncomfortable topics like sex and pornography isn’t going to make them disappear. It may just make you seem inaccessible. Talk about these things with your kid. Set your expectations. Make yourself available to your child so that they feel comfortable asking you questions or seeking guidance.
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Contact us @ 828-484-9946