How to Make Social Media Beneficial for Your Child

Jun 01, 2015

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“Social media is bad for children” according to the majority of parents; however a group of doctors disbanded this idea at a recent conference.

Keynote speaker, Dr. Mega Subramaniam, and panelists Dr. Janine Francolini, Dr. Scott Gaynor, and Dr. Orit Goldhammer all have backgrounds in education working with children. All of them unanimously agreed that the benefits of social media outweigh the negative- if used properly.

Social media can be overwhelming to parents as it is ever changing, but the convention  "Just a Click Away! How Social Media Influences our Children's Social Development" was dedicated to simplifying it for parents. Social media can be complicated. There isn’t one solution- and in this case, abstinence is NOT the key.

Here are some simple principles, concepts, and helpful tips that were shared at the seminar:

  1. Surprisingly one of the most effective ways to protect your child online has nothing to do with a device. It’s about your relationship with your child. Your relationship has a strong protective factor to keeping your child safe online.  Focus on your relationship, not the devices.
  2. You talk with your child about sex and drugs- it’s just as important to talk with them about porn. Begin having these discussions early and continuously have them.
  3. As with anything, children need to be taught how to use social media. Assign yourself, an experienced sibling, teen, or individual how to use it appropriately. There is such a think as online etiquette and your child needs to be educated about it.
  4. Adapt. The Internet is constantly changing and you need to as well. Stay updated on the new apps and platforms so you can know about it when your child wants to start using it.  Don’t forget to check out the privacy settings.
  5. Social media is a good thing- when boundaries are set. Set limits and rules.  Check out Net Nanny’s blog page for tips and ideas.
  6. After you have taught them and discussed with them, trust them. Snooping and inspecting usually doesn’t end well.
  7. Make sure your kids are on social sites appropriate for their age.  
  8. Actually READ the terms and conditions of each platform and app.
  9. Consistently check privacy settings.