10 Things My Tween Daughter Should Know Before She Posts

Feb 01, 2017

I’m no stranger to social media. Heck, I built a business off of it. But let’s be honest: some people build their self-confidence and image off of it. And a lot of those people happen to be kids.

And if you’re good at math, you probably figured out that I was a teen parent. One who is a millennial and is now raising daughters in a time where “content is king” and social media reigns. I didn’t really get heavily involved in social media until my college years at Temple University. Those years taught me a lot about my potential, my determination, and my capabilities to achieve every dream that I set for myself and my family.

But every day that Facebook decides to remind me that, “On this day” I posted...well ya know what? That’s the past and when it comes up, I delete as much as I can. Haha!

Growing in This Millennial Era

The truth is, I was so rough around the edges then. However, I don’t judge that young woman because although she had her cuts and her bruises, she was relentless in her goal to become a better woman. I’m that better woman that she dreamed of and while her words may no longer live on social media...her journey is inextricably linked to mine. We are one and the same.

Watching my own journey unfold keeps me thinking about my daughters, particularly my eldest who will have a Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter before I know it (which, if I have my way will not be until at least 13). Now, I’m not naive; my girls are completely aware of social media and have made their debuts and appearances on those three platforms via family and friends.

But one day they will both have their own. And given what I’ve come to learn about social media and the fact that my generation is the first to really grow up with it, I have an open-list (in this case, not a letter) that I’d like to share with my girls.

My hope is that you, our valued reader, will find some gems to share with your kids or at the minimum, a framework to start or revisit the discussion about social media and social media conduct.

So here it goes...

Social Media Conduct

1. Your online presence is an extension of you. Don’t be a fraud, a follower, or thirsty. Just being honest. You may be younger than me but...trust me, I know the lingo--perhaps better than even you.

2. To whom much is given, much is required. Social media is entertaining, no doubt about it. But like with anything in life, it has its beauty and its danger. Our expectations of your conduct do not change just because you’ve graduated into the virtual world.

3. There are frauds...like, everywhere. Everything that you see isn’t what it seems, and everyone that you’re connected with doesn’t have your best interest at heart. Quality over quantity.

4. Words do hurt. Think twice. Taste your words before you feed them to someone else.

5. Pictures tell more than 140 characters. Be mindful in what you post and intentional about the message that you want to send.

6. You can influence how someone thinks. So use it for good as you become great, and be an inspiration for others to realize the same.

7. Someone is watching you. A friend. A hater. A potential employer or opportunity creator. A troll. Your mother. Your father. Your godmother. Your sibling, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. We are watching you. Remember what Khaled said and don’t play yourself.

8. The internet and everything that you post on it is a time capsule. When you post, don’t just think about the now, deeply consider your future. I’ve had to delete as much as Facebook reminds me of on a daily basis. Some of it makes me cringe to read now. Be who you are while also never losing sight of who you want to become.

9. Less is more. The less they see (your body, your daily moves, etc.) and know--at the minimum when it comes to your personal life--the more you give them to think about and stay tuned to. Strategy my dear...social media is a game of strategy.

10. You’re more valuable than a like or a rating. Know who you are. Know whose you are. Stand firm and be proud of it all. If they don’t get it, they were never your “tribe” to begin with. Consider this: some of the most powerful people in the world either don’t have a social media account, or don’t personally run their accounts. Figure out what you’re on social media for and then drive in your lane. And if you swerve, trust that we’ll be right there to help you get on track. We will always have your back.

Bonus:

11. No connection will ever be quite as powerful as face to face, hand to hand, eye to eye. Develop your personality and your social skills to thrive in both the physical and virtual worlds. You have a smile that rivals with the sun; eyes that make a challenge shake in its boots; and a spirit that is only possessed by you. There’s nothing quite like experiencing YOU in person. Social media is convenient to this world, but you my dear, are a gift.

Sincerely,
Mom.

To be sure your child is following these basic safety rules, keep an eye on their activity with a social media tool like Net Nanny Social, allowing you to identify a wide range of threats, monitor your child’s posts, and get real-time alerts and weekly updates.