Social media can quickly consume a teenager to the point they need to constantly monitor feeds, posts, tweets, snapchats, and more. It can become a major point of arguments and disagreements between parents and teens and the amount of time they are glued with their eyes and fingers on their smartphone and the time they spend doing other activities as a family.
Another problem with social media is it can be used to hurt your teenager when they have been singled out by their peers and other anonymous people, who post derogatory comments and hateful remarks in online forums for everyone to see. These types of posts can cause your teen to withdraw and retreat further away from the important support systems their close friends and family provide.
In today’s society, it is vital for parents to take an active role in their teenager’s social media usage and accounts. Granted, some teens might feel their parents are invading their privacy or do not trust them to make wise decisions on their own. However, it is easy for parents to get involved without overstepping too much.
The first thing parents need to do let their teenagers know they are there for them, no matter the type of problem. They should remind their teens there is more to life than what people post online. Next, parents need to set established boundaries and rules for social media usage. The sooner these are implemented the better, especially when giving your tween or teen their first smartphone, including:
- Limiting the amount of time spent on social media.
- Not allowing mobile devices in the room during dinner and family time.
- Not allowing your teen to go to bed with their smartphone.
- Requiring your teen to ask permission before creating new accounts on social media sites.
- Setting a limit on the number of friends they can have online, appropriate for their age.
- Monitoring their list of friends and requesting they obtain permission before adding new ones.
- Reviewing posts on their social media sites and taking note of any hurtful comments posted by others.
- Reminding your teen having a smartphone is a privilege and if they fail to maintain good performance in school and help around the house, you reserve the right to take the phone away.
If you start noticing derogatory comments on your teen’s social media sites, along with a drastic change in your teen’s behaviour, you need to approach them and ask what is going on and why these things are being posted.
If they are unwilling or feel uncomfortable speaking with you, do not be afraid to seek outside help from a professional counsellor, like the ones here at Bayridge Counselling Centre. We can also provide support for parents, who suspect something is going on with their teen, but are not sure how to approach them. Call us at 905-319-1488 today to schedule a consultation appointment.