As I log onto facebook, I see more and more younger teenagers getting facebook. I still remember the day when facebook was limited too college students only with an active college email address. Then, when facebook was opened to high school students, it was near impossible for any student to switch over to facebook instead of their current myspace. Now, facebook is the thing. Phrases such as “facebook me” or “hit me up on facebook” are common for students these days. Today, I want to give you a few thoughts on what to do when your child wants a social media page. Now, these questions normally come for middle schoolers just getting into social media, because most high schoolers are already there, but how do you handle this situation. Here are a few thoughts:
- Set boundaries for their account. If your 13-year-old comes up to you, and says that they want a facebook, do not be afraid to set boundaries. You say, what kind of boundaries? That is totally up to you as the parent, but I would always suggest having the password and user email of your student’s social account. I would also suggest that the parent can monitor and check on what friends are added or what friends the student is messaging. Set boundaries up front for your student.
- Set consequences for broken boundaries. Students need to hear consequences first, and it saves you the trouble of hearing, “You didn’t tell me this up front.” If you set boundaries, and clear consequences up front, there is no excuse. By the way, follow through with your consequences.
- Limit the use of social media– I personally may be old school on this, but I still do not think it is healthy for a teenager to sit in front of the computer at all different hours of the night on facebook! Facebook is very addicting, and if we are not careful, our students will become educated in communicating using only social media whereas we want our students to learn to communicate face to face as well.
- Teach them to think before they post– I deal with teenagers all of the time that do not think before they post or tweet, and then they get upset about the consequences for a bad tweet or post. Parents, we are giving reigns to young kids, and it is your responsibility to teach and train them on how to use this if you are going to allow them to have an account.