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Teaching Kids Proper Social Media Usage

November 9, 2018

Teaching Children Social Media

In today’s digital age, nearly everyone is on social media. Online communities are a fantastic tool for staying connected with family and colleagues, catching up on current events and networking with people from all over the world. However, there are people who do not use this tool for good. This can be scary for parents with children who use social media regularly. So how do you teach your child about appropriate social media behavior when you did not grow up with this tool as your child has?

Talking about internet usage with your children can be difficult. That's why it’s best to start early. Even if your child isn’t old enough to use online platforms or doesn’t currently show interest in it, they still most likely use the internet for various reasons. Children commonly learn about these sites from their friends or older siblings. So, as a parent, make the effort to start the conversation about this tool.

When your child shows interest in joining social media, be open-minded and ask questions. Ask why they want to join, what they hope to gain from social media usage and who they would talk to if an interaction or experience made them uncomfortable. By asking these questions, your child is able to formulate what a positive social media experience looks like, In turn, they also learn how to create a positive environment online. This conversation can also be a good segue into social media etiquette.

Online Network Etiquette

Enforcing social media etiquette is important for your child to positively contribute online and recognize red flag behavior. Receiving mean comments can destroy a child’s self-esteem. Similarly, you certainly don’t want your child to be the one writing those comments. Talking about proper etiquette and behavior can help your child recognize inappropriate behavior online.

Here are some simple do’s and don’ts to start the conversation about social media safety:

Social Platform Do's:

  • Promote a culture of conversation within your family.
  • Keep the conversation age-appropriate.
  • Make your pre-teen/teen the expert.
  • Talk about your own social media usage (if applicable).
  • Be transparent about monitoring.
  • Remind your child privacy is important and anonymity is an illusion, and enforce them to set his or her profiles to private.

Social Platform Don'ts:

  • Make social media a “forbidden fruit”.
  • Belittle your child’s interest in online communities.
  • Let your child join social media before meeting the age requirement.

Lastly, it’s important to make your child aware of the dangerous side of the internet. Children are often susceptible to common scams like pop-up advertising. Quirky questionnaires and flashy game-like pop-ups are intriguing to children, but they are often ploys to gain personal information. If anything that seems odd pops up on the computer screen, advise your children to close the tab and not interact with it at all.

Children should also be aware that stranger danger applies online just as much as it does in real life. Teach your children that online, everyone is a stranger. On social media, it’s easy for anyone to pretend to be someone they aren’t and could send mean messages to your child, or worse. Having an open line of communication between you and your child, especially regarding internet and social media usage, is instrumental in your children reporting inappropriate behavior like this as soon as it happens. The internet and social media should be fun, so help your child get the most of this awesome tool accessible at their fingertips!

Now that you are more knowledgeable of your child’s social networking usage, think about your company’s profiles. Is it following proper protocol? Are you engaging with customers? Our team of social media specialists will develop dynamic, engaging content to get your followers interested in your products or services. Contact us today at 618-656-7333! Or, learn more about our social media services here