Parents, I know that you promised yourself that you wouldn’t grow old like your own folks; that you would stay current and hip with all the latest tech, celebs, music and trends. But, lets be honest with ourselves, we so easily fall out of current at a blinding speed and quickly embarrass ourselves with kids with our references to grunge music, scrunchies and Adam Sandler movies that “kids these days” just don’t understand. BUT here’s one area that as a parent, you can’t and shouldn’t fall out of step in: Social Media. Your children are communicating differently today and you can’t afford to be ignorant with social media! You don’t have to be an expert, but you can’t be a dummy – and here’s why:
- Social Media Defines Your Child’s Identity “Don’t be silly,” you say. “My child gets their sense of value and self worth from me – their loving parent – and their church.” Yes. And no. While I am of the generation that first experienced MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, you child can’t fathom a world without it. “Selfies” (self portraits) used to be done when you didn’t have someone to take the picture for you – now they are done to show off new clothes, makeup, friendships, cleavage, and status to their friends and the number of “likes” that their pictures get directly feeds the monster know as ego and it’s cousin, self worth. You need to see what your child is posting, who is “liking” it and what pictures your child “likes” so you can have a great vantage point when it comes to parenting your child well.
- Unhealthy Relationships We all get the heebie-jeebies with a certain friend our child has – one that we don’t want them to play with or let them go to their house. This is a good thing. As adults, we have a better vantage point in discerning good relationships for our kids, and it really is part of our job: make sure our kids aren’t exposed to damaging environments/people. The trouble is, so much of the environments/people are no longer the kids on the street who want to play, but they live in the cyber world of social media. You need to make sure that you are able to monitor your child’s relationships and keep them from harm. Do you know about the app, Snapchat – an app that is widely known as the best sexting app available? Do you know if your child uses it? Do you know who they send to or receive messages from? As a parent, you need to be there!
- Help Them Make Wise Choices Because your child is growing up more and more in the digital world, you need to be present to help them make wise choices about what they share, who they share it with, the intentions of those who “friend” or “follow” them.
As a parent, this is one area that you need to invest some time learning more about it (YES, even if you think having a Vine or Twitter account is dumb) so you can be savvy and have your ear to the ground about what your kids are into.
Need some help getting started?
- Learn more about Instagram here
- Watch a video about posting pictures with your cell phone here
- Learn about the dangers of oversharing here
- Have “the talk” [about social media]
- Importance of cyber parenting
What do you think? Is social media something that you’re scared of wading into?