I recently read an article on Mashable called, “Don’t fear your kids’ technology use, Embrace it“ and it really hit home with me. Monitoring my kids are using social media activities has always been a hobby of mine because I believe that it’s every parents responsibility to monitor what their kids are doing on social media and give guidance on how to use it responsibly. If you’re afraid of how kids’ are using social media, then maybe it’s time you joined the community and started looking around.
My teenagers have been using social media for years, and typically, refrained from a lot of the horror stories that are keeping parents up at night. I’m not saying it’s been a smooth ride, but for the most part, they’ve been able to use it and not make me want to hide my face in public. I attribute a lot of their actions to discussing the expectations and best practices, but more importantly because they know “Big Brother” is watching.
Let’s face it, kids have seven ways to Sunday to stay connected to their friends today. And with the ever abundant app store bringing us new ways to share, it’s almost overwhelming to try and keep up. But keep up, we must!
Here are 5 reason’s “Why” I monitor my kids’ Social Media and why you should too!
- Monitor their actions - I hate to say it, but kids are stupid. Well, maybe not stupid but definitely not smart enough to make wise choices. They believe that what they do in this moment is “no harm, no foul”. Even when your kids know that you’re monitoring their lives, they still put stuff on-line, like no one’s watching. This is simply not the case. I watch, and if you want to find out what is going on, you should watch too.
- Follow them - Require that your kids let you follow them. That way they know you’re there, but more importantly, it doesn’t give them a sense of free reign. This is not just for Twitter, it’s for everything. Even the sites that you don’t know about and then happen to stumble across by mistake. It’s like letting the leash out a little at a time. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not trying to keep them from using social media, you just want to give them guidance on how to use it best.
- Set the example - This one is a tough one, especially if you’re not a fan of social media, but you gotta do it. Get on-line, get yourself an account and take off! I’m not saying you have be the next social media expert but how can you give your kids guidance if you’ve never used it. There is a ton of information on-line for best practices for using social media and they’re just a click away. Go find it, repurpose it for your situation and help set the best example of the right way to represent themselves. Who knows, you may even enjoy it.
- Build community - My kids give me a hard time about this one. I tend to say a lot of dumb dad stuff on-line and they’re the first ones to see it. I think I’m very cool, but apparently, that’s in my own mind. Whether your not as cool as you think or are super cool in your kids eyes, social media can bring you closer to your kids. Social Media is about being social, and about a community, so why not use it as a way to stay connected to their everyday lives. You may actually have learn a lot about your kids personalities just by staying connected.
- Social Media last forever - Here’s where it gets serious. Social media goes viral in a millisecond and long standing opinions by others can be formed instantly. Even if you think that you can stop it by deleting your account, once it hits someone else’s device, it’s public. And there is nothing you can do about it. Not to mention that once it’s out, it’s permanent and open for every future employer, husband/wife or friend to see. Kids need to be careful of the opinions and images they share because that will become their social reputation. Just like you didn’t want to be that girl or that guy in school, neither do you on-line.
I hope you gained a little insight as to why I think it’s important to follow my kids on social media and why you should too. If you think I’m crazy, or spot on, I would love for you to leave a comment. One last thing as I go.
What are you doing to monitor your kids on-line?
Rusty Boozer is the founder of rustyboozer.com, a blog about living and working with purpose. He writes about Leadership, Technology, Education and how to add value to the lives of others. Follow him @rusbooz1