Teaching your kids to navigate in today’s digital world is getting tougher and tougher. Kids, at least my kids, are becoming more and more tech savvy. While it was easy when my kids were little to completely monitor their online usage – how often they were online and where they went, as my girls grow into teenagers, I must admit it’s getting harder and harder. We have rules in our house about using social media. I know the passwords to every account they have. The computers are in a main area of the house and we talk about online safety all the time. It’s still hard to know where they go. My eldest doesn't need her computer to go online, she now has her phone. And it isn't really a matter of policing their accounts all the time – social platforms like SnapChat immediately delete their messages. In fact, I could delete my daughter’s email account and it wouldn't phase her at all. There are so many ways to connect with her friends.
The main things I try to stress is that what goes online, stays online. Forever. And Ever. And even longer than that. But even this is tricky because while my daughter always needs her friends’ permission to post a picture of them online, sometimes pictures of her with her friends are posted without her consent. That becomes a problem sometimes.
I definitely don’t believe in banning social media use. If I do, she’ll likely go online elsewhere and besides, I think that if she becomes knowledgeable of all the consequences, both positive and negative, it will help her as she grows to learn to use the Internet responsibly.
I try to keep the lines of communications open. I ask lots of questions and try to answer all of hers. I try to keep an open mind and be very calm and non-judgmental because I always want her to be able to come to me with questions or concern. I try but it is hard sometimes.
What are your house rules about using social media? Is it changing as your kids get older?