Get Savvy About Your Kid's Social Networking


Get Savvy About Your Kid's Social Networking

By Jennifer A. Powell-Lunder, Psy.D., Talking Teenage for

When did the world get so complicated?

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Back in the days before cell phones and the Internet, communication choices were not so confusing. Not too long ago you could talk about a ‘friend’ and everyone understood what you meant. These days it is not unusual to inquire whether it is a ‘friend, friend,’ or a Facebook or Twitter friend.

As a parent of a tween or a teen, it can be overwhelming to try to track who it is your child is connecting with and how. From Instagram to Tumblr, Facebook to Twitter, new social networking sights seem to be cropping up daily. Trying to keep up is challenging to say the least.


You are a parent who prides herself on ‘being in the know’ when it comes to parenting. A little bit of advice and information can go a long way toward the quest to keep up with how your kids are connecting with the world at large. To this end, here are some helpful hints in order to ensure you are social networking savvy.

1. Monitoring is the key to compromise. If you are somewhat reticent about letting your kids connect, a plan which includes consistent monitoring may be the compromise you covet. Be sure to be clear about how you plan to check in on your child’s social networking activities. Collecting passwords to each of the sites she visits is not just a suggestion but, a recommendation.


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2. Check out the site’s privacy policies. Different sites provide different levels of privacy. It is important to understand how a site works. Be sure to check your child’s privacy settings. If you have concerns that he is sharing with too many people, sit down and discuss it with him. Be clear about what you expect from him.


3. If you don’t understand how the site works, ask. Ask your child to show you how to negotiate a site that seems confusing. She is likely to feel empowered that you can learn from her. In addition, this education will ensure that you understand.

4. If you want to encourage honesty, avoid getting over involved with your child’s content. Avoid commenting on any news or gossip about your tween or teen’s social life. Your purpose in checking her account is to ensure safety. If she feels like you are overinvolved, you run the risk of her literally tuning you out. You don’t want to find out that she has set up another profile under a different handle to which you have no access.

5. Avoid posting or participating on your child’s page. Your role is to parent not to ‘friend.’ Unless your child tells you he wants you to participate, this is a big ‘no, no.’

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