At DijiWise, we believe in the importance of having open conversations with our kids to better understand where they’re coming from and to give them support as they become more and more independent. As parents, it can be difficult for us to let go because we’d like to believe that we know best but our kids can surprise us. This week, we came across the Teen Vogue article Why Some of Social Media's Biggest Stars Are Deleting Their Accounts — and Maybe You Should, Too, which speaks directly to Generation Z, kids ages 2 to 19. It details the decisions of celebrity role models, like Lena Dunham and Jaden Smith, to ditch direct interactions with social media because of toxic online environments and the desire to connect with people in real life.
Referring to the New York Times’ article Move Over, Millennials, Here Comes Generation Z, Teen Vogue notes that wanting more privacy is a big reason for disconnecting from social media. “‘As far as privacy, they are aware of their personal brand, and have seen older Gen Y-ers screw up by posting too openly,’ Dan Gould, a trend consultant at an advertising agency, told The Times.” Our kids are young enough to observe how older generations have used it as a powerful channel for both positive and negative interactions and learn from those mistakes. While the rest of us figure out ways to incorporate and balance out social media in our lives, our kids have the interesting task of figuring out when to remove it as a generation that has always had social media.
As parents, it’s enlightening to see Teen Vogue continue a dialogue around privacy and online behavior that kids may already be having with themselves and one another. In many instances, they will take the lead in handling situations that don’t feel right. Of course there can be missteps, which is why we need to be supportive in guiding them and establishing a trusting relationship, but our kids are attuned with how social media plays into their lives. And they will become an even larger factor in how the digital space evolves.