Keeping up with young people on social media today can be daunting for parents, especially when young people change their social networks and profile pictures as often as their socks.
We spoke to experts, parents, and young people themselves to pull together useful advice to help you navigate your child’s online universe, and also bring them back down to Earth.
Equipping your child to deal with the online world
Accept that you’re never likely to be ahead of your child on technology, and focus on social media risks instead. The most important resources to help them handle today’s challenges are the same ones parents have always needed to give their children:
• A realization that the world doesn’t revolve around them; they have to be prepared to give as well as take
Make time to talk
Talk to your child about what’s going on in their life – both online and offline – and anything that’s bothering them. Listen attentively and respond honestly.
Share your social media experiences
Discuss the role of digital technology and social media in both your lives. What does your child love about them, and what do they find scary? Talk about your own use of technology as well. If you’ve ever felt undermined by social media, explain how it felt and what you did about it.
Balance the online and real worlds
Research shows that teenagers are figuring out ways of keeping their details and posts private on social media, but it’s worth checking that your child is fully aware of privacy settings and is using them.