How To Teach Kids To Be Smart About Social Media

Teaching kids about social media the right way

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Has your child asked you about creating a TikTok account yet?

Honestly, we would be surprised if they haven’t. Social media is a difficult subject for many parents. While many of us remember getting our entertainment from Saturday morning cartoons and cable TV, today’s kids get their entertainment from platforms like TikTok and YouTube.

Because of this, kids want to join these platforms sooner and sooner, much to the distress of parents who want to let their kids have fun, but also want to protect them from things their kids might find.

So what do you do? Here are our tips for introducing kids to social media and controlling it to make it a positive experience for everyone.

It’s important to start with a conversation and set expectations

Before letting your child jump right into things, it is important to have an initial conversation with them to set expectations and make sure you are on the same page. Setting a very specific list of ground rules ahead of time will save you a lot of trouble later when something happens that you don’t approve of and you have to change the rules as you go. When you agree to these rules, it might be a good idea to write them down and even create a fun little “contract” for your child to sign. You can always reference back to your contract later if you need to!

Make sure all their security settings are set to the max!

After you set your ground rules, it is going to be time for your child to sign up. This is a task you should handle as you want to make sure that the accounts settings are set to as private as possible. Each platform has its own setting that makes sure that your child is completely safe. You can make their account hidden from search, make any new follower be approved, and even control searches that your child might make. In addition, you can put your own certain level of security in place by having the passwords to all accounts and being the ultimate approver on any new friends or posts.

Manage screen time.

Just like many other things, moderation is key. We have all mindlessly scrolled through social media at one time or another, and your child will probably want to do the same. It’s important to allow your child set amounts of time to enjoy the platforms so that you can control how much exposure they are getting. Too much time and it might be difficult to take their eyes away from the screen later.

Here’s a guide from Apple on how to manage screen time limits.

Understand that social media is here to stay and education is extremely important

I am sure that most parents would love that their child never gets on social media, but the reality is that social media is something that is a part of our lives now and will be for some time. Instead of keeping your child away from it altogether, allowing them to experience it when they become curious and educating them throughout the process can ultimately lead to much better outcomes and let your child build a good and positive relationship with social media. There are going to be times that are frustrating and other times where your child might see something that you don’t think is appropriate, but keeping the line of communication open can, in the long-term, help build your relationship with your child and help them grow

Most parents shutter at the thought of their child coming to them asking to create a social media account. The idea of social media can be a scary one and the thought of what your child could be exposed to is even scarier. The truth is that while social media can be scary, it can also be a fun and creative place for your child to start to see the world around them. With the right controls in place and a little diligence on your part, your child can enjoy social media in a healthy way and begin to experience a little bit of independence as well.

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