This article first published as Monitoring Your Children’s Social Media Activities, on Technorati.
Many of today’s kids actively post on social media sites. Children’s savvy technological skills are beyond their parents, grandparents and caregivers in many cases. What’s the best way to know what is happening with the kids these days? Read their social media posts.
As a parent, I’m constantly on my daughter’s social media sites and often discuss what is appropriate. Sometimes I’m not up on the latest fad at school, who knew wearing flip flops with socks would ever be the in thing? My daughter is thirteen and most active on Facebook and You Tube. There is quite a bit of drama to sort through. She does a good job at sorting out drama, better than me.
Children need to have a certain level of maturity and understand that the privilege of having an account on social media comes with a big responsibility. I know her password by heart and will for the considerable future. I log in and check her account often. I more importantly know her privacy and security settings.
There have been times when I’ve seen her posts that I deem are worthy of deleting, her options are simple, delete the post or delete your account. She hates me for a little while but I’m fine with that. I’m not her friend I am her parent after all. Most of her posts are wonderful, she has a funny sense of humor and it shows.
As a Mom and social media manager, I was hired by a family who’s Mom was a trial attorney on an active trial and who’s Dad was a surgeon busy learning new techniques. They hired me to log-in to their teenagers accounts and set up privacy according to guidelines they established. I also was charged with observing the accounts twice per day for three months. If I saw posts with certain topics such as anger, sex, drugs, bullying etc., I texted the parents who took it from there.
Know what your children’s privacy settings are; most importantly know that having a social media account by a minor is a privilege not a right. If this sounds like Greek to you, hire an experienced social media manager.
Facebook and YouTube have age limits to set up accounts. It’s easy for the children who are math proficient to just set their birth year to an earlier one. The age limitation is not working to prevent misuse of the site by minors. Knowledge, rules and parenting is the best limitation.
Social media is one way for children to connect; they like interaction and can type comments on their friend’s videos, posts or photos. Family far away is more involved with what’s going on via the social activity and interaction. The bad side is that there can be misunderstandings or hurt feelings from typed words taken out of context. Children become brave and may say things on a post they may otherwise not say in person. When it’s posted online, it stays online.
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