Yes you should give your teen privacy, but that doesn’t mean complete freedom to use social media as they chose. Teenagers have poor judgment because their brains aren’t fully developed yet. That’s why your job as a parent is to be involved.
If you’ve been to one my presentations recently, then you’ve heard me talk all about how important it is for parents to know about the apps your kids are using. It’s also imperative for you to monitor their interactions on social media.
Your teen’s phone is not a diary. You do have the right to monitor it. And you should.
Besides the risk of things like cyberbullying and sexting, most teens are developing anxiety from a need to check what feedback they are getting from peers.
“How many likes did I get on my Instagram post?” is a common teen concern.
Here are some tips that all parents of teens should know:
1. Know the Apps. Most teens use Instagram and Snapcaht, so familiarize yourself with how these apps work by downloading them to your phone and experiencing them firsthand. You’ll be amazed at how much subtle social feedback gets shared.
2. Be Curious. Ask your teen to show you their favorite apps and how they work. Ask casual, curious questions like, “What’s the funniest thing that happened to you on social media today?” or “Do your friends use Snapchat?” or “Was anyone mean on social media today?” These types of questions will ideally open the door to important conversations that allow you to share your values with your teen.
3. Monitor Your Teen’s Phone. Check phones periodically to see what they’re using how they’re using it. Remember, apps like Instagram allow users to make multiple accounts, so be sure you are seeing those as well. If your child is experiencing increased stress or anxiety, that should be a time to monitor more frequently so that you can determine if further invention is necessary.
4. Help Your Teen Develop Empathy. It’s never been more important to ensure that your teen is involved with real life peer interactions. Face-to-face time spent with peers is essential for developing healthy interpersonal connections with empathy. Too many kids are impulsive and mean over social media. They never see the face of the person they are hurting. Teens must see peer reactions in person in order to develop positive social skills. Whether it’s a club, a sports team, or just hanging out in the kitchen, make sure your teen is practicing people skills in the real world, not just the digital world.
Always remember, we’re here to help!
Here’s to Your Well Being,