We are our teens’ biggest role models. We shape their behavior and how they interact with their environment. (Desiree Panlilio)
In the digital age, discussing social media with your teen is more than just reminding them about internet safety. It’s about diving into the depths of what they’re posting and the brand they’re crafting. We all remember those moments when our parents seemed to talk in the background noise, their advice lost in the static of our youthful distractions. Let’s flip the script and revitalize the conversation by exploring the world of social media through a different lens – the lens of branding, values, and lasting impressions.
While ensuring your teen’s online safety is paramount, the repetitive nature of these conversations might have caused the message to blur into the background. Instead of focusing solely on the dos and don’ts, delve into the realm of what your teen is actually posting. Imagine their social media as a stage, and they’re the star of their very own show. Branding isn’t just for big corporations; it’s a concept that can be applied to personal online presence too. Think about their favorite sports player. Those famous sports personalities reflect their values, the sport they love, and the best parts of themselves. They’re crafting a brand that people want to “buy” into.
Guide your teen by explaining that their social media can do the same. It can be a canvas for showcasing their passions, values, and aspirations. Just like their sports idol, they can curate a feed that tells a story of who they are, creating a brand that people naturally gravitate toward.
The allure of followers and likes is undeniable, but it’s worth asking: Is it truly worth bending your values or doing something out of character for a few more followers or likes? In a world where social currency equals popularity, discuss this concept with your teen. Use the sports analogy, or anything your teen is passionate about. Would their favorite player compromise their values for the applause of a crowd? Encourage your teen to consider whether they’re willing to trade authenticity for temporary approval. With this temporary approval by a few, is it worth losing the authentic friendships that you have carefully curated?
Picture this. Your teen is about to post a photo. Ask them a thought-provoking question: Would they want you, their parents, to see or read what they’re about to post? This shift in perspective encourages them to evaluate their content through a different lens. It’s a reminder that even in the digital world, integrity and character matter. Challenge your teen to look through an alternate lens. Guide your teen to see that the brand they’re creating now is a foundation they’ll build on as they progress through high school, college, and beyond. What do they want people to say when they check out their social media? Encourage them to envision the impression they want to leave and the legacy they aim to build.
Lastly, Snapchat’s fleeting nature can give a false sense of security. But as a parent, discuss the impact of sending a photo that no one would want to see. Ask your teen whether the temporary thrill of sending or receiving that picture is worth the potential damage to their reputation or the long-lasting consequences of a misjudgment.
In the digital landscape, our teens are crafting their personal legacies with every post, every update, and every interaction. As parents, our role is to guide them toward mindful choices, empowering them to be the curators of their digital personas. Beyond the safety conversations, we’re planting seeds of self-awareness and authenticity that will blossom into the brand they proudly present to the world. Engage your teen in conversations about branding, values, and the lasting impact of their online actions. As they venture into the world of social media, equip them with the knowledge that every post is an opportunity to communicate their uniqueness, integrity, and potential that reflects who they are and who they aspire to become.