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Navigating Social Media With Your Girl
Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. Musical.ly. Snapchat. Chances are at least one of these is a big part of your life—and of your daughter’s. Despite the age restrictions on many social media platforms, a study from 2014 showed that roughly three out of every five kids had their own social accounts before age 10. And although these digital communities can help teens and tweens develop their social skills and form positive relationships, the digital world can still be a tricky place to navigate.
That’s why Girl Scouts’ Developmental Psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald and Senior Digital Media Director, Kayla Santalla teamed up to tackle some major issues around kids and social media. Here are a few of their top do’s and don’ts:
- DO let your daughter know from the very beginning that you will be doing spot-checks on her social media—not because you don’t trust her, but because you want to make sure she’s staying safe and that nothing inappropriate or potentially dangerous is happening on her accounts.
- DON’T make a big deal about every little thing you see on her social accounts, though. If she posts something silly but harmless, let it go—save your lectures for bigger issues that could compromise her safety or that of others.
- DO set up social media and technology rules as a family. Discuss what areas of your home should be screen-free, and during what hours social media and phones in general should be off-limits. When your kids are involved in creating the guidelines, they’ll be a lot more likely to follow them.
- DON’T forget that the social media and technology rules apply to the whole family—adults included. You might not even realize how much time you spend attached to your phone, but your children certainly do! Besides, you're your child's first social media role model. If you're attached to your screens 24/7, she'll want to be, too.
- DO talk to your kids about what is and isn’t appropriate to post online. If it’s not something they’d feel comfortable with their grandmother or a college recruiter seeing, it’s probably not worth putting online. Remember, even “temporary” or “private” posts can be captured, saved, and shared.
- DON’T post sensitive content about your daughter on your social media account. Being a tween or teen is hard enough without mom or dad posting cute-to-you but mortifying-to-her baby bath time pictures or toilet training moments. Some special memories are meant to be kept in the family—not shared with the world.