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What to Ask When Your Teen Wants to Use Social Media

socialmedia153First, we know from our own social media that the experience isn’t always great. How are kids supposed to deal with insensitive posts, sketchy people, privacy problems, and even FOMO — when supposedly mature grown-ups can’t even be trusted to behave appropriately? And, though most social media has a minimum age of 13, a lot of kids start asking for it before they’re technically allowed to join.

Of course we’re worried. But the truth is, lots of teens use social media and stay safe, healthy, and connected — especially when parents are supportive.

And if we set our teens up for success, keep lines of communication open, and stay aware of our teen’s social media world, any trouble they run into will likely be speed bumps instead of roadblocks.

So, how do we do that? Talking — and listening — is key. Yes, it can be hard to get kids to open up, but it’s possible to get more information about what they want to use, why they want to use it, and how much they know about potential risks without seeming intrusive. And it’s important, too, not just for their social lives but for the future. The world runs on social media. And kids need to learn how to use it safely, responsibly, and respectfully. Today it might be Snapchat, but tomorrow they may be looking for a job on LinkedIn or sharing a professional portfolio on their website.
If you need buy-in, frame it like a driving test: They need to know the rules of the road before they can get in the car. They might know much more than you think, so make sure to let them show their expertise when possible.
Some questions that can be used as a script or jumping off point to have a conversation with your teen include:
  • What app(s) do you want to use and why?
  • What kinds of communication don’t belong on social media?
  • Do you know what to do if someone is mean, harasses you for pictures, stalks you, or does anything else that feels sketchy?
  • What do you think we should do if one or both of us notice that being on social media is starting to make you anxious or depressed, or take up too much time?
See the full article on CNN online for the full list of questions and the answers that indicate your teen is prepared for this step.
Source: CNN | What to Ask When Your Child Wants to Use Social Media, https://www.cnn.com/2018/07/16/health/child-parenting-social-media-partner/ | © 2018 Cable News Network

Have questions? CHC can help. To schedule an evaluation or to get advice about your child’s challenges, call or email a CHC Care Coordinator at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org

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