With a billion Facebook users, it's hard to dispute that social media is here to stay — and that it is going to be an integral part of our children's lives. In fact, social media websites can improve children's communication, social connection and even technical skills.
Maybe you don't use social media as much as your children do. Many parents don't. So teaching them about the risks may be a challenge.
The more experience you have with social media, the more credibility you'll have when you talk to your children. And if you are a social media user, share your experiences as a way to talk to your children about their online habits.
But whatever your comfort level, you need to teach your children three very important lessons about social media:
Talk to your children about using "good judgment" when it comes to posting anything online. And what the consequences can be of using social media to gossip, bully, spread rumors or hurt a person's reputation.
More and more, we are hearing stories about how employers, admissions officers and others are checking people's online activities as they consider them for jobs, schools and other opportunities. And there are more stories about bright, capable, promising people losing those opportunities because they didn't consider how their words and actions online might appear to others. These days, your online reputation matters. It's especially true because ...
Just as a reminder:
Contact your pediatrician for advice if any of these symptoms are occurring.
There is a lot that is wonderful about social media. It has tremendous potential to teach us and to connect us. It is already transforming how we communicate, learn and think. And it will be a huge part of our children's future. Working together, we can make that future a good one.