Parenting in the age of social media comes with a set of challenges previous generations never had to deal with. Don’t have a social media faux pas—learn how to parent in the age of Snapchat and Instagram with advice from local expert Robert Torres, chief technology officer at Stockton Unified School District.
Q: Should you ‘follow’ your children on social media?
A: Yes absolutely, this lets them know you will be monitoring their activities on social media for chats, pictures, videos, playing games, etc. Besides, there are dangers with the power of social media applications and the use of GPS tracking technology built-in that, if turned on, allows friends and followers to know your location.
Q: What rules should you have in place for posting photos of your kids on your own social media?
A: Keep it to a minimum and appropriate content in the event someone tries to share your photos with someone else intentionally or accidentally. Make sure your privacy settings on your social media applications are set to private and model good behavior on your own social media accounts.
Q: What is an appropriate age to have a social media account?
A: If you follow the guidelines and age restrictions on most of the popular social media applications, the minimum age is 13 years old. Before granting permission, do some research on the internet to see what guidelines you, as a parent, should be providing kids before they create their first account. This is also a perfect time to let them know they must share their account information with you and that you will be monitoring their activities.
Q: How much monitoring should you do of your child’s accounts and “friends?”
A: If your child uses social media often, your frequency should become regular to check their activities. An easy way to do this is have your child accept you as a friend or follow them on their social media to see what is being shared or posted. In the best case scenario you should become familiar with the popular social media applications (Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook) and learn how to use them so you can verify your child’s activities by asking for their mobile device and reviewing their online activities for yourself.