Arguably the biggest difference between our own teenage years and those of our children, social media is here to stay. So how do we help our young people use it in a positive way?
Why is social media important to young people?
|Why is social media important to young people?|
Encourage your child to value what’s real and what matters
Remind them that social media is often like a showreel of life’s best bits – attention-grabbing and carefully edited. Real life isn't like that
Talk to your child about real-life friendships vs social-media 'friends'
- What would a true friend do for you?
- How many truly close friends do you have?
- What makes a friendship work?
- What are the hallmarks of true friendship?
- What's the difference between a friend and an acquaintance – and how many of the people you 'know' through social media are the latter, not the former?
Encourage them to think carefully before they share on social-networks
Help your child recognise that social media ‘friends’ or ‘followers’ aren’t necessarily true friends or even acquaintances, and therefore they should be careful about what they post
Prioritise good friendships in your own life
Be positive about the place your friends have in your life. Make sure your child knows how much you value your own closest friends – a wider network is great, but not the same as a dependable inner circle
Periodically review your child’s internet safety
As well as checking the privacy settings on all her social networking profiles. Remind them not to share her name and address, nor any provocative photos, school details, parents’ contact information, or anything else that might help strangers identify them. Why not create a home social networking contract that you both sign?
Discuss the long-term nature of the internet with them
Help them realise that online means forever – they can’t change something once it's been shared even if it appears like it has been erased at the time