Jul 10, 2019

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.

The Era of Millennial Moms

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 now 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).

I’m not naïve - 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 a wish list 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 etiquette.

So here it goes...

Social Media Conduct for Tweens in 10 Steps

  1. Your online presence is an extension of you. 
    Don’t be a fraud, a follower, or thirsty. You may be younger than me but trust me, I know the lingo - perhaps even better than you.
  2. To whom much is given, much is required. 
    Social media is entertaining, no doubt about it. But as with anything in life, it has its beauty and its danger. Our expectations of social media conduct do not change just because you’ve graduated into the virtual world.
  3. There are frauds... 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 always 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 Khalid 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.), 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".
    Know who you are. Know whose you are. Stand firm and be proud of it all and if they don’t get it, they were never your “tribe” to begin with.The power of likes may be enticing, but the real power is YOU.
    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.

I want girls to have the ability to not let words hurt them, and thus not give their power away to other people. THEY are in charge of their feelings and reactions, always! - Dr. Tim Jordan, Dr. Tim Jordan, the author of Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women: Guiding the Transformation of Adolescent Girls

Bonus Social Media Tip:

No connection will ever be quite as powerful as face-to-face, hand-to-hand, or 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.

Looking for more parenting information? Read Sleeping Beauties, Awakened Women: Guiding the Transformation of Adolescent Girls by Dr. Tim Jordan.

Syreeta Martin

Sincerely Syreeta is the mother of two daughters who remind her to Empathize, Empower, and EVOLVE every day. She is a freelance journalist, talk show host, life coach, motivational speaker, and entrepreneur based out of Philadelphia, PA.