How to Manage Social Media for Teens
This is a scary topic for many parents—how can we manage our teens on social media? I am here to offer some help and encouragement, first of all that you can be of help to your kids with regard to social media, and second of all, it is your right and your responsibility to do so as their parents.
I also share feedback from listener Marisa who found the confidence she needed to make a lifestyle change after our episode on being more confident. Way to go, Marisa!
“We worry all the time about what kinds of media our kids are being exposed to … There is a very real challenge Catholics parents have in this culture that is so opposed to many of our values.”
1. Start with their phones.
Do they need a phone? Should they have a smart phone? What kind of phone, with what kind of access, and when are they allowed to use it? All legitimate questions, and the answers will vary kid by kid, but please know that your child does not need to have a smartphone simply because everyone else their age has one. You are the parent, and you get to decide.
2. Look at their social media.
What apps do they want to use and why? How will they use them? Should you have access to their accounts at all times? If you are not familiar with the apps they are using, can you enlist the help of someone who is?
3. Talk with them about social media.
Ask why they like it, what they do there. Ask how other kids use it. Does anyone every use it in a mean or inappropriate way? What are some of the “unwritten rules” for ways that kids use this media and why do those exist? Step into this part of the world with your kids and engage them there.
4. Know you are going to mess up.
No filter is perfect, no parent is perfect, no rule is foolproof. Your kids are going to work around your rules, you are going to neglect to ask something, they are going to accidentally access something they should not, and you are going to be devastated. Well, I pray that won’t happen, but it very likely will at some point. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it is an opportunity to teach your kids why we believe certain things are wrong, how they hurt us, and what God’s plan is and how it’s different. Also, this is an opportunity for you to show them what we can do when we mess up. The ways in which we can seek and receive forgiveness from one another and from God teach them about God’s merciful love.