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Teens, Parents and Safe Social Media

Posted on: Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

The Internet and social media’s influence reaches almost every aspect of our lives these days, and this including the world of parenting. Youngsters latch on to iphones and tablets with glee, and when they’re small enough we’re able to guide their technology usage. As teenagers, however, they are less open to parental interference into their social media usage.

It’s normal to feel uncertain or even frightened about your child having access to things beyond which you are aware. Perhaps you’ve heard horror stories about other people’s teens, or your child has broken your trust in the past. You probably have reason to be hesitant, and you are right in that this is not going to be easy to navigate.

Instead of trying to stay on top of every new social media fad, we need to take a step back and look at our relationships with our children. We need to maintain the relationship of support, guidance and connection that we’ve developed up until now, with the addition of taking into consideration their transition into an adolescence. As much as it is the parent’s/guardian’s role to guide and protect their progeny, it is the adolescent’s role to challenge and push the boundaries placed on them. This dynamic is part of the process of growing up.

Here are some tips to help you work through parenting an adolescent in the hyper-internet age

  • Create ground rules about social media usage in collaboration with your child. If the child is involved with making the rules there is a higher chance of them buying into the ideas and following them. Limited time, Access, Accountability.
  • Whatever ground rules and consequences you do decide upon, maintain them consistently with your child. Make sure the whole parenting team is on board with these guidelines.
  • At this stage of development it’s normal for adolescents to have difficulty thinking about long term consequences. Educate your teens to the dangers of the internet (safety) impact on reputation (appropriateness) and irreversibility of posts (do they really want that picture there forever)
  • Foster an atmosphere of honesty, mutual trust and respect by speaking in a direct fashion
  • Keep it real, if you don’t know, let them educate you on whats up or get tutored before confronting them.

If you’re having difficulty addressing this issue as a family contact us and book a family counselling appointment with a counsellor at Journey Counselling and together we can support you in mediating this conflict.

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