Sunday, October 13, 2013

Social Media: Protecting Your Children and Teens Online

We all need to do more of this and less of social media!

My sons are grown men and they have jobs and spend very little time on social media for which I am very glad.

When my niece became old enough to use social media my sister was in charge of how much time and where online she went.  Because of this, my niece was able to graduate with honors and take honor classes in her first 2 years of college (so far, she is keeping up with her grades).   I am so proud of the way that she kept on her with her daughter's online time.  My sister made a deal with my niece when she wanted to join FaceBook (which I introduced them too).   They were in the same groups together and my sister had to be her friend.

My sister didn't sit there and watch her moves on the computer.  But every so often she would check her daughter's online activity and they would talk about it together.  My niece mostly kept involved with her friends from high school online.

Now what I'm going to say (speaking as a parent) may upset you but this is only my opinion based on experience.  If you are not in charge of your child's (teen's) online time, you are not setting the right tone with their involvement in social media.

Too many "mommy bloggers" put their kids on the iPad or other computer or phone and allow unsupervised time because they are too busy trying to make money and friends online.  I know this as a fact because I'm in the groups with the "mommy bloggers" since I am a Mom Blogger myself.   They are on there for hours chatting away and admit to others that they aren't in charge of what their child is doing.  I see how much time they put into blogging and less of mommying. 

I would say that more emphasis needs to be on your child (while they are children to 18) and less on the computer.  We see in the news how many kids are suicidal and how many go through with it because of bullying online.   This month is anti bullying month, and now is the perfect time to make a promise to your child (if you aren't doing this already) that they are #1 and the computer is number whatever.

One of the most important things we can do to help our children is to build solid relationships that allow for frequent back and forth conversations instead of one way lectures. Ongoing discussions are helpful because social media and technology evolve too rapidly for a couple of conversations to make a dent. 
We must educate ourselves and stay abreast of technology trends, issues and solutions so we are able to provide intelligent and helpful input for our children.

Empowering our kids by letting them teach us something new can enhance relationships, facilitate interactive discussions and help protect them in the process. Using the same social media platforms they use enhances our ability to provide meaningful and constructive suggestions and can allow us to monitor them too.

Here are some great places to get help from others who are in this same situation:

Many of these articles are saying what I believe and many of them go into deeper topics of protecting your children online.
If you are a grandparent, you might want to share this article with them.  Also, don't be afraid to tell your adult children what to be careful of online.

     Day 13
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