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Parenting and Social Media

Today I choose to write about Social Media, a topic that I think is, or should be, of big interest for many parents.

I have two children in school age, and as many other kids, they are very interested in everything about Social Media and all its offering. Instant access, always available, instant information, instant contact etc. The middle-age generation of parents has not lived with Social Media for that long that we live with it as a part of our everyday life. Many don’t even bother to know learn what it is all about. Some learn a lot from their kids, who are very quick to learn all about the different apps and what you can do with them. Others really get into it and get stuck themselves.

It is easy, as a parent, to have your child in front of the computer, Ipad, tablet or smartphone, we know exactly where they are and we know that they are safe because they are not out in town.

BUT, do we know what they do? Who they “hang” with? How they speak to each other and How they use their language or most of all what they write and record? They have friends all over the world, their network is no longer just the close vicinity of their town, they have the whole world as their playground now.

You care about your kid, but do you care about what they do on Social Media?

Do you ask your kid, how was your day at school?; how was your training?; did you have fun at your friends’ place? It is pretty obvious that we, as parents, want to know what they are up to, right? Because we care.

But, do you ever stop to ask them how their time in front of the computer was, who they have been seeing or meeting there, or if it has been a fair play when playing games or fun? Do you ask them to tell you what they put on SnapChat, Instagram, Musically or any other instant app before they post an image, statement or video? Do we ask them to show us what they have posted? Are you checking what they have put out without them knowing? Are you their friend on their different social media channels?

I don’t mean spying on them. But checking that all is ok? Are you ever asking them to show you what they are doing on the computer right now? Asking them to teach you something or play a game with them?

There are many questions to be asked that need to be answered.

Netiquette | You are in the spotlight

Children don’t always know that what they put up in Social media is permanent and NOT PRIVATE. It is our responsibility to teach them. It is our responsibility as parents to learn about Social media ourselves. WE need to educate ourselves and ask all these questions. What you put up on the internet, or any social media app is never private and will always be available. We need to teach our children “netiquette”.

The other week I was at a parent meeting in one of my children’s school.  I was amazed by how few of us parents showed up. Such an important subject and hardly anyone showed up. The reason why the school had this meeting, was due to the fact that children in the school weren’t very nice to each other on Social media, calling each other names and bullying each other. Which is illegal.

Don’t get me wrong, Social media is great – when you know how to use it

The tips I got from this meeting was all the questions that I have written about in this post. The speaker at this meeting also said that it could help a lot to spend time with them when being in front of the computer or the device, asking to join them or have them teach you something.

children learn and imitate what you do, not what you say.

Another thing is that, as a parent, you need to stop spending so much time in front of your own device, children learn and imitate what you do, not what you say. Many parents stay stuck to their devices themselves since they always are available and also enjoy games that easily can become addictive.

I believe there are many benefits in using social media. For example, learning the English language, getting friends around the world, easy access to knowledge, access to education, and so much more. We need to be careful so that we don’t let the internet raise our kids and influence them to a great netiquette that everyone will benefit from. Courage and to avoid bullying is very important when it comes to social media since it is so much easier to hide when not showing your face.

One more question, do you ask your child for permission before posting his/her picture on Social Media? Wouldn’t you be upset if he/she did that without asking you?

Sharing is caring. I hope that someone else can benefit from this post as well. I believe that we all can make our world, a better place, little by little.

All the best,

Carina Asp