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Lauren B. Stevens
Lauren B. Stevens is a freelance writer and influential blogger. She is passionate about social media and literature.
Jun 14, 2017
So much of parenting is about modeling the behavior you want your children to project, but what about social media? While you may be socializing on Facebook, that’s not where your kids are hanging out online. If you’re not utilizing Twitter, Instagram or Snapchat, you need to make sure that someone your kids respect is modeling a positive social media presence for them.
According to a Pew Research Center survey about teens and social media usage, 92 percent of teens aged 13 to 17 reported being online on a daily basis. Of those teens, 24 percent reported going online constantly, which is unsurprising, as 88 percent of American teens have access to a mobile device.
Platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and Tumblr are where kids are spending the majority of their time on social media, so let’s take a look at the platform where your kids are spending their time.
Pew Research Center reports a whopping 52 percent of teens using Instagram to share personal photos, videos and conduct conversations. Those of you with daughters on Instagram will want to be more vigilant, as girls are 61 percent more likely to use the platform than boys. With young Instagram users relating the number of likes on their photos to feelings of popularity (or unpopularity) and self-worth, you want to be checking in with your child regularly. Stay up-to-date with the latest news about Instagram and how they’re reported to be the most negative platform for kids.
With Pew Research Center reporting 41 percent of teens using Snapchat regularly, this platform needs to be on your radar. While the majority of kids are using Snapchat to be silly and have fun with their friends, you want to make sure that you’re checking-in with your child regularly.
Twitter still hasn’t totally caught on with the younger set, with Pew reporting that 33 percent of teens using the platform. Twitter is a platform to watch carefully with your child, as it is incredibly easy for users to hide behind fake profiles and cyber bully or attack others quickly and succinctly.
Not quite as popular as other social platforms, 14 percent of teens use Tumblr. Another microblogging platform, Tumblr is highly visual and utilizes re-blogging in a similar fashion as retweeting. Teens and tweens on Tumblr are highly likely to encounter inappropriate content, as it is extremely common on the site.
While Amy Poehler is definitely hilarious and incredibly talented, it’s Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls organization that you want your daughters, and sons, to follow.
Stemming from a YouTube show, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls is a community supporting young men and women in their quest for a voice (and answers), a respite from the cutthroat Internet world. Smart Girls encourages youth to explore their inquisitiveness, take part in volunteerism and charity work, as well as to stay true to their authentic selves. Smart Girls states that their “goal is to provide a healthy alternative to so much that is being marketed to young people on the internet. We emphasize intelligence and imagination over ‘fitting in.’ We celebrate curiosity over gossip. We are a place where people can truly be their weird and wonderful selves.”
You may know him as The Stinky Cheese Man, but Caldecott-winner and inaugural National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, Jon Scieszka wears many hats in the literary world. Scieszka brings together some of the best writers in young adult and children’s literature for series such as Trucktown and, more importantly, the Guys Read series (which is also a web-based literacy program for boys).
New York Times bestselling and award-winning author of Thirteen Reasons Why, Jay Asher has his fingers on the pulse of what it’s like to be a teen today. When he’s not writing, Jay spends much of his time speaking at schools and libraries across the country. An established member of the YA literati, Asher posts frequent updates on social media; teens will be interested to see his posts from the set where Thirteen Reasons Why is being filmed.
It’s hard to imagine any future generation growing up without reading, or watching, the Harry Potter series, which is only a small part (if you can imagine that) of the foundation on which Emma Watson stands. A UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Watson is a feminist and humanist, championing for the rights of the repressed and undervalued. Not only is she a talented actress, most recently acting in the family classic Beauty and the Beast, but Watson is also a fervent champion of many causes, including the #HeForShe campaign toward gender equality.
Our generation remembers her as Winnie from The Wonder Years, but kids today know her as a fun mathematician and New York Times bestselling author of fun math books for teen and tween girls. A STEM education advocate for girls, you definitely want your daughters following Danica on social media, with interactive activities such as #NameThatPalindrome, and #McKellarMondayMotivation!
The Gilmore Girls may have skyrocketed Jared’s career, but today’s teens know Padalecki from his role on the hit series, Supernatural. Open about his battles with depression, Padalecki formed charity, #AlwaysKeepFighting, which strives to create awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental illness. Jared’s social media presence continues to bolster his campaign, and others, such as #IAmEnough, while inspiring people to speak up and seek help.
Former Blossom star, Mayim Bialik, is now one of the endearingly geeky characters on the hit television series, The Big Bang Theory. What many may not realize is that Bialik is also a neuroscientist, an author, a mother and a STEM advocate for girls. While you can follow Bialik’s column about Judaism and parenting on Kveller, your daughters can see Bialik illustrate how cool it is to be a smart and accomplished woman.
In a sea of celebrities on social media, it’s refreshing to discover celebrities serving as role models, using their social platforms to educate and inspire others. What celebrities do your children follow on social media? Tweet us with your parent-approved recommendations.
Parental control software, like Net Nanny, allows parents to set appropriate boundaries and visibility for both online and app activity for your family. Parents can customize settings to receive alerts when harmful activity is detected such as hate speech or cyberbullying, as well as block websites or apps.