There comes a point in every parenthood journey when your children start getting curious about social media. From a super young age, they want to play games on your iPhone, and as they grow up, they want to create their own profile on Instagram or Facebook.
When your kid asks you if they can have a social media account of their own, you might be nervous at first and you might have a lot of concerns. That's a totally normal and natural way to feel because it can definitely feel overwhelming. Here are 10 things to consider when your kid asks to make a social media account.
10 Consider Their Age
When your child wants to join the world of social media you want to consider their age. If they're eight years old, for instance, that might seem super young... but it's tough to argue with a twelve-year-old wanting to post some fun photos to Instagram.
If you feel that it's age-appropriate for them to have a social media account, then it's definitely up to you. Remember that you're the parent so you'll be able to set the rules and boundaries.
9 Ask Why They Want It
There are many reasons for kids to want to join social media. Maybe they keep hearing about it at school or they see you posting to Instagram, so they wonder what it's like. Or maybe they want to follow some celebrities that they love, from favorite singers to actors.
That's a totally legit reason to want social media. If your kid wants to seem cool and wants to get likes on photos and selfies, you can totally understand that... but you can explain to them that's not the best use of the platform.
8 Ask If Their Friends Are Using It
We can all remember wanting to do something because our good friends were. Maybe we wanted to start wearing lip gloss, or buy stickers that were popular at the time, or get a fake tattoo.
When your kid wants to set up a social media account, you can ask them if their friends are using it and that's why they're so interested. Chances are, they're going to say yes, and it's good to know how many people in their social circle already have profiles.
7 Weigh Fitting In And Your Own Concerns
The next step is to weigh your kid's wish to fit in (which you totally understand) and your own concerns.
Even if you think that they might be too young for social media, this is kind of like wondering what the right time for a cell phone is. You might wonder "if you can't beat them, should you join them?" You can definitely remember wanting to do something that your friends were doing that your parents weren't thrilled about. If your kid really wants to check out social media, you can consider a way to do it that makes both of you happy.
6 Talk About The Comparison Trap
Social media brings up a lot of feelings for a lot of people, and one big thing is "The Comparison Trap." This basically means that people post pictures online where they look perfect, and then other people scrolling through the posts think, "Why isn't my life like that?!"
When your kid is curious about joining the many others on social media, you can talk to them about this subject. You can say that people use filters and post the good times and vacations and other big moments, and that it's not necessarily real life. It's good for kids to see that social media posts aren't the same as someone's actual daily routine.
5 Talk About Social Media Positives And Negatives
Many of us find it tough to see the nuance of social media and the fact that it's not always depicting reality, so it's tough for us to explain this to our children.
When your kid wants to set up a social media account, you can talk to them about the postiive and negative parts of social media. You can say that it's great to see posts from friends and family and to follow people that you're fans of (like celebrities), but that sometimes people can be mean and start fighting in the comment section. This will help them have a better understanding.
4 Should It Be Private Or Public?
If your kid wants to set up an Instagram profile, it's a good idea to consider whether it would be private or public.
If it's private, then only their good friends and family members can see it. Depending on their age, this might be a really good idea, and you could be more comfortable with that.
3 Keep An Open, Honest Dialogue Going
When your child feels that they're ready to set up a social media account and you want to say yes, you want to keep a dialogue between the two of you going strong.
You want to be able to talk about what they're seeing on social media in an open and honest way. This is what you do with any other content that they consume, from movie to TV shows, so it's definitely the same idea. You also want to talk together about who they can follow, and keep your eye on that list.
2 Talk About What They Can Post
If you decide that your child can set up a social media account, you want to think about the kind of content that they're going to be posting.
You definitely don't want them posting anything too personal, but as long as they're of the right age, there's nothing wrong with some fun pictures of the beach from your recent family vacation, or their favorite dessert from their favorite restaurant.
1 Set Screen Time Limits
Finally, if your kid wants their own social media account and you've decided that it's okay, you want to set some screen time limits.
Whether your kid has their own cell phone or not, you definitely don't want them to spend hours and hours on social media (and you don't want to do that yourself, of course, although it can be so tempting). Maybe half an hour a day is the best thing, or there's another time limit that works better for you.