There's a reason why Facebook has an age limit.
Childhood just isn't how it used to be, is it? These days, our kids simply don't know a world without the internet and with that comes social media. While this all might seem routine to your kids, you as a parent know that you have good reason to be wary about your children using the internet. This is especially true for social media, which can go from fun to dangerously personal very quickly.
Being cautious about your kids' online activity doesn't make you overprotective and paranoid — it makes you SMART. You know that your child's safety must come before their wants, even if it makes them temporarily unhappy. Sticking to your guns on those issues is what makes you a great parent, after all!
But what do you do if you think your child actually is ready to have his or her own social media accounts?
We're going to give it to you straight on this one. If you're seriously anxious to find out whether your child is mature enough to have a Facebook page or other social media account, first you have to brush up on social media policies yourself. Also be honest with the commitment you're willing to make to this new activity. If you can't really dedicate time to watch over what your kids are doing online, there's no way that they should be exploring this new world unsupervised.
Even though it may not seem like it, there is a lot of responsibility and trust that goes into maintaining a Facebook page, Instagram, etc., especially at such a young age. With the amount of cyberbullying and online predators these days, could you really trust your kid to be safe online? This is just one more thing that makes parenthood that much harder!
But don't worry; YourTango Parenting Expert Tara Kennedy-Kline is here to help! She offers a lot of helpful advice that parents in this complicated situation will definitely be able to use with their kids.
In particular, she has a good point when she stresses that there is a reason why Facebook has an age limit. For starters, she mentions that you need to know that you are going to have the time, the commitment and the ability to monitor your kids when they are on a social media site like that, especially when it comes to their privacy settings and who they are allowing to friend or follow them. This isn't to say that you don't trust your kids to do the right thing. It's just that there are a lot of people who pretend to be someone they're not behind a computer screen, so it's always better to be safe than sorry.
At the end of the day, your kids need to learn how to stay safe online before they have their own social media accounts. That includes knowing that whatever they post online will be up there forever; there's no magic erase button to take things back.
Watch the video above to hear this and more advice on kids and social media!