The Internet is really an imperative training ground for children to build their identities and learn crucial social skills according to a recent University of Amsterdam’s Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media study cited by Mary Kay Hoal, Founder of Hoal agrees that for most children, social media mainly presents a positive experience that allows them to build their self-esteem, create friendships, and develop/hone their social skills.

Age restrictions

  • There is a reason why there is an age restriction.  Kids younger than 13 don’t understand the impact of saying or posting something online.

 Sign them up

  • Show them how to set up a profile. What to NOT do and explain why.  Present them with examples and scenarios of what to do and what not to do, and encourage them to ask themselves, “Would mom be okay with this?” and if they’re not sure they should ask you.

Friend request

  • Be sure you are one of your child’s friends on Facebook.  When they know you are going to see what they say and do, they will think before they put it up.  Don’t invade their page, just monitor it and “like” things they post like artwork or quotes.
  • Be sure you communicate verbally and regularly with your child about what is going on in their lives, who their friends are, how they feel about things

 Protect and Monitor

  • Put the computer in a common area where kids can always be monitored and time can be tracked.
  • Set up parental controls.

Angela’s Teachable Moment: Whether you like it or not, it is always important to invest time learning about things that interest them, especially if it involves the internet.  It’s not going away and you are going to be forced to learn it later anyway.  Call me crazy!