If you’ve ever been at the crossroads of wanting to let your kids spread their wings and wanting to stay in the know and watch out for their best interests - especially with online and social media activity - you’re not alone. Teenagers want more freedom and privacy, and overall, we want them to have their independence. (We were kids once, and sometimes we forget that in our parenting moments!) Online activity and social media usage, however, make what one might mean by “privacy” a different beast and a bit more complicated.
If you or your teen are stuck at the crossroads of accepting that giving you access to view their social media activity is okay, then here are five things to consider on how monitoring social media activity can help at home:
It builds trust and respect - in each other
When you and your child establish that you can view their social media and come to an understanding of the expectations, your child sees that you trust them. It makes it easier for them to be themselves while using social and digital media responsibly. As a parent, it helps remove the guessing game and wonder as you observe their interactions, and your trust in their choices and behaviors will continue to grow.
Less stress for both of you
Having access to technology and the privilege of using social media comes with responsibility, which makes understanding digital responsibility important for teens and adults. Being on the same page will mean less stress for both of you. If your child knows mom or dad are watching their social media usage, they’ll be more apt to think twice about what they are posting, which will help keep their social profiles clean. And if any activity sways from the ground rules you’ve established, they’ll learn through conversations or consequences the valuable lesson of accountability.
It strengthens your relationship when you interact with each other on social
Social media is how today’s youth keep in touch with people - and not just friends. It’s another way kids interact with their parents, cousins, aunts, uncles, and even grandparents. With busy school and work schedules, happy birthday posts, #TBTs, videos, shout outs of appreciation, and tagging funny shares that remind you of each other or that you think each other would like to see are great things that keep relationships strong.
Both of you are more at ease with your child’s circle of friends
Next time your child has friends over or are going out with people, you’ll be more familiar with who is coming into your home and have a stronger sense of the people they hang out with. Since you’ll be familiar with their friends through social media, your child might feel more comfortable mentioning conversations, arguments or situations going on with their friends that you might otherwise not know about.
Creates a safe environment for your child - online and at home
When you’re in touch with their online activity and have a foundation of trust established, you can step in when you see red flags or determine whether your child is truly interacting with someone they know.Your child will know you have their back and are there for them when something goes wrong.