6. If you see something, say something. If you are concerned about something your child has posted, or perhaps a post of his friend, talk to him. If you have access to his passwords avoid simply taking down what you don’t like. If the post is very concerning and you feel you must manage the situation in the moment, have him take it down. When you do it for him you encourage distrust and dissention. Have a discussion with him about what and why you have concerns.
7. If his friends consistently offend, be sure to insist he block. Sometimes it is his friends who put up inappropriate content on your son’s site. Give him a warning before insisting on action. If the behavior persists however, be sure to follow through. With rumors that colleges and potential employers check social networking pages, you do not want your tween or teen to be penalized for the bad behavior of his friends.
8. If you ‘friend’ your tween or teen she has access to your profile. Unless you consistently monitor your own social networking pages, are you really sure the content on your page is rated ‘E’ for everyone including your kids? Now maybe you are quite conscious of what you post yourself, but are you confident that all of your ‘friends’ are as mindful as you are? If not, think again.
9. Discuss the rules before you allow him access. The time to talk about what you expect regarding his social networking activities is before, not after he gets started. Clearly define what you mean by inappropriate posts. Remember, he cannot comply if he does not understand. If warranted, discuss the parameters of his social networking activities. Can he check into his sites when he gets home from school, or is he expected to finish his homework first? Do you expect him to have time limits on his social networking activities; if so clearly spell this out. Your failure to do so could result in a tween or teen who is up all hours of the night interacting with his internet ‘friends,’ remembering some of his virtual friends may live in different time zones.
10. Set up a social networking support system with other parents. Use social networking to your advantage. Keep in touch with other parents about your tween or teen’s online behavior. Make a pact amongst each other that you will police each other’s kids. This ensures that you are not in this alone. Let your tween or teen know that other parents will be watching. This back up system helps ensure that your child and his friends are safely social networking.
It is a much different world out there than it was when you were a kid. Although it may feel as if parenting has become a much more complicated task, a little social networking savvy, can go a long way.
What are your family rules for social networking?
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