Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t want plastered on a billboard in Time Square with your face on it. (Desiree Panlilio).
That was my go-to saying with my teens. Reading the quote it seems rather dramatic, but is it?
Today teens will screen-shot what one teen writes about another and share it on their own platform to create drama, gossip to bully or one-up the other person. As a parent we can all agree that may be something we do not want to deal with. How to minimize what your teen posts.
A conversation about the reasons for not posting everything your teen does on social media might make these points. The first is that not everyone is your friend. You can not trust anyone and everyone about your personal life. Encourage your teen to establish personal relationships and to share their personal life with those few individuals. It is having the conversation about trust and who your teen should trust and not trust.
Second is safety. This is a little scary as a parent. The less someone knows about you the less they can stalk you, share your information, and create drama for your teen. Privacy settings and not sharing location are fierce conversations to have with your teen. What privacy and sharing do you and your teen feel comfortable with? Friending or following your teen’s social media accounts with an agreement about whether you will or won’t post or respond to their posts. Making sure your teen knows not to share full names, addresses, telephone numbers, social security numbers, passwords, and bank or credit card numbers. As a parent, you are thinking of course but I believe in just being very matter of fact about social media and security, there are so many scams and scammers are very savvy, so creating a blanket rule makes it easier for our teen to follow.
Lastly, having privacy creates peace of mind for your teen and you. It allows for your teen to step away from the drama .Privacy removes the stress of waiting for validation from others, from strangers your teen follows, however, I hope you have discussed who your teen is following and if it is appropriate. You stop caring what others think about your life because they don’t know anything about your life.
Having your teen share their life on social media gives everyone a front row seat and invites their opinions, comments, and directly impacts your teen’s self-confidence and self-worth. Your teen then bases who they are by how or what “friends” respond with. By having your teen not sharing their personal life your teen gains back control of who they are. I know that managing social media with our teens is a struggle, a battle, and we win some and lose some. The important part is to be having the conversations and to consistently discuss social media in the context of family values.