When you hear these words, “Mom, can I have my own Facebook account?” what do you do? It’s so easy to go running and screaming for the hills (when did my babies grow up???), to leave your hubby to take care of it (it’s all up to you, hon!), or to say no (I’m sorry kids, but no, no, and just no). But, let’s face it, in this age of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, your kids are going to be exposed to it sooner rather than later, and it’s best to be prepared.
It’s always good to know the reason behind your kids’ wants. Is it because they need it for school? Do they just want to play games? Or maybe they want to chat with their friends online?
Once you know why your kids want Facebook or other social media accounts, discuss with your hubby whether your think your kids are mature enough to handle their social networking. You know your kids best!
If you do decide that they are mature enough, it’s always best to lay down some ground rules. Like always thinking twice before posting anything, never friending someone they don’t know, and not bullying others.
When you help your kids make their accounts, always double check the privacy and security settings. In this digital age, the privacy settings have become the guardian of social media accounts.
Too much of anything, especially social media, isn’t a good thing. You can limit your kids’ Facebook time to an hour or less each–then you can shoo them out to play.
You can install browser extensions that protect your kids’ privacy, and prevent images and ads from popping up.
Friend them on Facebook and their other social media accounts, and monitor what they post, share, and like. (Just don’t make embarrassing comments, okay? You don’t want your kids to unfriend you.)
When you’re more or less aware of their social media activity, you can start conversations with them about why they posted something or what they liked about the photo they shared. No, you’re not being nosy, this is so that you can guide how they use their social media accounts.
It’s undeniable. Someway, somehow, your kids will be exposed to Facebook and social media, and it’s best that you are the one who helps them with it. Social media isn’t all bad–there are many good and educational things out there too! So don’t be afraid to let your kids explore (within limits of course)!