Technology has been both a blessing and a curse on our society. On the one hand, it makes getting the information we need instantaneous, keeps us in touch when we need it, and has made us more productive. But on the other hand, it’s also a distraction and can be used for bad rather than good.
One of those distractions is social media, however, it’s not all bad. Social media has the power to benefit us in many ways. That’s why it’s important to teach your kids these 5 critical social media habits.
1. Never add or “friend” people you don’t know. Kids love being popular and it sure feels good when someone sends you a friend request. But if it’s not someone they know personally, it’s a bad idea. Not all people in the world are bad, but there’s no reason for strangers to follow your kids on Instagram or connect with them on FB. Some may even pose as kids in the same age group. Best to avoid the danger!
2. What you post is forever. The things you say and the photos you post on social media are up there forever. Even if you post something out of anger and later delete it, someone likely will have already taken a screenshot of it. Teach your kids to be kind online and not to post any questionable photos.
3. Watch out for advertisements. With influencers out there, your kids are exposed to advertisements constantly, often without realizing it. Show them what to look out for when using social media so they don’t fall into these traps.
4. Don’t spend too much time on it. Social media is a great tool for networking, particularly as one gets older and enters the job market. Building a network now can greatly help your kids as they move into college and then into the adult world. However, social media can be a huge time-suck too. Teach your kids to set time limits for how long they will spend on their social media apps so they get in the habit of putting their phones down.
5. Don’t believe everything you see. Adults do it too. We scroll through our newsfeeds and feel a bit envious at those friends of ours with so-called perfect lives. But not everything is as it seems. With people of all ages getting more clever about what they post, it can make everything look flawless. Remind your kids that being real is the most important thing.
You can set up your social media for perfection, but when you present yourself falsely, everything falls out from under you. Teach your child to be honest as they create their social media presence, something that is a true reflection of themselves. Because one day not too far away, a potential employer will be looking. Ask your kids what image they want a professional to see: is it one where they’re engaging in negative behavior or one where they are an inspiration?