It’s not easy to know how to set the right guidelines for kids on social media. If their friends are on it, they probably want to be on it too. Read for tips on how to keep kids responsible on the internet.
Social media is everywhere. No matter where we look, what we are doing, or what our children are doing, there is always something going on with social media. And it’s not only personal use, either. Businesses are upping their game with the power and reach that social media offers them and it seems that everywhere we turn on the internet, there is some sort of push to “like” this, or “pin” that, or “share” with our friends. To be honest, it’s expected in this day and age. As our world continues to evolve and grow, our technology and our use becomes more and more prominent.
As adults, most of us tend to use the internet and social media at some point in time throughout our day, if not for the majority of it. And it’s so easy to get sucked down that rabbit hole, right? You start out by researching a business on Facebook and suddenly three hours have passed and you just ordered a whole new dish set from Amazon. We’ve all been there, trust me. But when it comes to our children, setting the limits starts with them. Social media and everything that is posted on it and through it can be quite confusing for a child. Most advertisements and posts are typically aimed at adults, but children are often the ones that are seeing them and being influenced by them. And while this seems to be a trend, there is a way to curb it. As a parent, you have the control to set guidelines in your home for your children and their social media use. You do control the key to starting to create those limits and boundaries! And if you are looking for a few suggested ages and guidelines for social media usage, here are some options to consider.
Kids on Social Media: Guidelines for Usage According to Age
Again, these are opinion based, so please do your own research accordingly.
- Ages 12 and below
- Social media outlets and children 12 and younger should be monitored. In fact, according to Facebook, to even have an account, a child should be over the age of 13. That’s just Facebook’s requirement, your household may have an older age requirement.
- If your child goes against the rules of waiting until 13 and opens their own social media account, this is where the parent steps in. The bottom line is that you have to look out for your child and their best interests. If they have access to their own social media outlets at too young of an age, then they also have access to chat with, connect and be connected to ANYONE else out there as well.
- Ages 13 and above
- Social media outlets such as Twitter, SnapChat, and Facebook (others as well, the list is not exclusive) have the rule that all users have to be at least 13 years of age, period. And if your 13-year-old child decides that they want to start-up their own social media page, as a parent you need to be there to help guide them and monitor as well. Make it a requirement that you have access to their pages so that you can stay aware of what is going on with them and their circle of friends.
- When your kids do get their own smart phones and sign up for social media accounts, it’s smart to have clear rules set in place for communication and responsibility. Use this cell phone contract or create your own to ensure positive use of the phone.
The truth of the matter is that social media isn’t exactly going anywhere. It’s here for the long haul and as parents, we have to make certain that our children are educated on the positives as well as the negatives of the social media world. The sky doesn’t need to be painted bleak when it comes to everything that social media can offer, but it does need to be talked about to your child so that they know the reality of everything that comes along with the responsibility of having their own social media account.
Let them know these tips as well when they get to an appropriate age to use social media:
- Anything and everything that they post online will remain there forever.
- Words hurt and social media isn’t an outlet for negative energy.
- Don’t post anything about anyone else that they wouldn’t want to be posted about them.
And if your child is younger and just wanting to surf around to explore on the internet, it’s understandable. There is a wealth of information and knowledge out there that is just waiting to be explored. When your children are young and don’t need to be exposed to everything that Google will pop up at them when searching for a certain word, why not have their privacy settings changed for them to where they can access the kid-friendly search engine, Kiddle. In all reality, it’s just another way to help monitor their access and keep them safe while exploring online.
As a parent, it can be difficult to find the balance between monitoring social media and allowing your child that freedom but it’s important to not be naive as well. Do your research and decide what works best for you and your household, and once that decision is made, continue to monitor and communicate about internet safety with your child!