Today’s teens and are technologically savvy. Texting and social networking is at the core of their social lives. Parents, understandably, have concerns about their teen’s presence on social networking sites. Teens have been known to post hurtful or objectionable things online. For instance, they may provide personal information such as physical addresses and other contact information. Parents know that is a recipe for tragedy.
Here are some guidelines to keep your teen’s social networking within acceptable bounds.
- Discuss with your teen what type of posts are never acceptable and why? Agree and write down the rules and the consequences for breaking the rules.
- Require your teen to give you the internet address of every blog and social networking site they belong to including their passwords. Remind them that when they change their password, they must give the new password to you.
- Let your teen know that you will be checking their social networking sites and blogs from time to time.
- Explain to the teen that what they post online will last for a very long time. Their teachers can read it and college admission officers can read it. Point out how, their friends may know that they are joking, but someone who is only reading the words, might form a different opinion of them.
- Settle on hours when they can post to their sites. For instance, they cannot post before 6 a.m. or after 10:30 p.m.
Once you clearly set expectations, be sure to follow through. Once or twice a week, check their social networking pages and/or blogs. Post something positive (but not embarrassing) on their site.
When a rule is violated, follow through with the consequences. Talk the violation over calmly with your teen. Listen to their side and then, if appropriate, explain the error in their thinking.