CONNECTION QUARTER: How to Connect with your Teen’s Social Media World

CONNECTION QUARTER: How to Connect with your Teen’s Social Media World

How to connect with your teen’s Social Media World: What every parent should know.

Connecting with teens can be difficult at best of times, but knowing how to connect with their social media is not as difficult as you may think.

This blog will give you some tips on how to keep your teen connected with friends through social media and most importantly safe while navigating its perils.

Do you know how many friends your teen has on ‘snap chat’, Facebook or instagram?   I bet you the answer will be in the 100’s.

It wasn’t so long ago, although it may seem otherwise, when your parents seemed to know most of your friends and your friends’ parents. Well, unfortunately those times have changed.  Due to social media (not only the forums I mentioned earlier, but also internet games, YouTube and the like) it is hard to know who your teen actually talks to.  Often when a teen says they talked to someone, they often mean through using one of these platforms rather than face to face.

Given there’s very little you can do – if anything at all- to stop your teen from engaging in social media platforms, it is important for you to also be part of this world and be as connected as they are.

Although social media can be a good way of connecting with people, it can also result in feeling isolated, be at risk of being bullied and negatively impact your teen’s wellbeing.  This is the more reason for you to take an interest in those interactions.

A study by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2017 found that 98% of internet users were teens aged 15 to 17 years.   This study also showed teens spend around 18 hours a week on social media.  Furthermore, 14% of households with children aged 5-14 years stated a child had been exposed to inappropriate material and 5% had been subject to cyberbullying.   A survey from The Australian Psychology Society in 2017 revealed that around 60% of parents never monitored their teen’s social medial account and most being unsure of how to guide their teens of appropriate social media use.

Following are some tips that could help you guide your teen through their social media world:

  • Make time for you and your teen to sit together to see their social media channels. This will give insight of material they are exposed to.
  • Familiarise yourself with your teens favourite sites and talk about these to learn more.
  • Friend your teen so you are informed of posts to and from them. This will enable to identify any inappropriate comments, content, etc., so you can act promptly.
  • Be mindful Facebook has a filtering feature that can allow teens to hide certain posts from parents or other adults. Use your best judgment to determine if your teen might be filtering the posts that you see.
  • Openly communicate with your teen, as your teen is likely to be responsive to this. It is critical that your teen feels safe in talking to you, because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behaviour.
  • Encourage your teen not to take their phone to their room over night.
  • Choose a place in the home as a ‘charging station’, where everyone’s phones are placed over night. Yes, everyone means yours too.  It’ll be hard to expect your child to adhere to this if you are not yourself.
  • Ensure computers are kept in a ‘public’ location, rather than in their bedroom.
  • You and your teen can negotiate having access to their passwords to their accounts. Of course you need to use your discretion requesting this, as it is important not to infringe on their right to privacy as this can result in pushing them away.
  • Discourage your teen not to post when they are going on holidays. Post afterwards and once returned.
  • It’s important to trust your teen enough to give them leash and don’t violate their privacy without justifiable cause. However, maintain the ability to check up on your teen if they begin to show suspicious behaviour.

 

By Carmen Beaumont

Principle Psychologist at Vida Psychology

You can read more about Carmen here.

 

 

 

 

References:

  1. Digital Me.  A survey exploring the effect of social medial and digital technology on Australians’ wellbeing. http://compassforlife.org.au/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/2017-APS-Digital-Me-survey-report.pdf
  2. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0?OpenDocument
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