Dear Friends,

While the good news is that our teens today are less likely to smoke, do drugs and get pregnant, they are more likely to be at risk for loneliness and depression than they were 20 years ago. But now, our kids spend fewer hours playing outdoors and socializing in-person, and when they sit next to their friends texting instead of talking, it does give us pause.  

Whether social media is fueling our mental health crisis is yet to be determined. However, it doesn’t take years of research and clinical studies to know that it is drastically re-shaping teen culture. From the preoccupation with the number of likes and followers to the new dating etiquette, we parents are out of our league. Afterall, as my daughter so often reminds me, I was born in the 1900s!  

Making the effort to understand the world our teens now live in can only behoove us as parents. Here, we’ve compiled our gold star advice and resources, so you can take action when it comes to social media.

We’re here to help at any point–you can just text us at: 8HIFAFGOTU!

With best wishes,

 

 

Julie Paul

Founder

TABLE OF CONTENTS D.N.T.

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#1  Boost Your Social Media Savvy

The first step to supporting your teen’s digital life is to:

  • Familiarize Yourself with the Platforms Your Teen Frequents 
    • Know the key features of each platform
    • Why they’re so appealing
    • What the potential concerns are
  • Adjust Your Privacy Settings  — Privacy Setting found in each
  • Know how social media is changing teen culture from friend etiquette to the new dating dynamic hover noting How Social Media is Shaping Teen Culture)
  • Know What to Watch Out for: Increased signs of anxiety, depression, and cyberbullying 

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#2  Use Our Family Media Contract to Guide You

In our family media contract, we’ve covered all the bases, and in it we address:

  • Appropriate usage–both in content posted and the amount of time allotted
  • Responsible use and Consequences for misuse
  • Parental monitoring

It’s your opportunity to communicate your expectations, share your concerns and hear your teen’s perspective. The time invested is well worth the return!

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#3  Teach Your Teens to be Responsible Online

  • Be mindful when sharing
    • Consider what effect their posts might have on others.  ICON Family media contract
    • Be aware of ‘Digital Tattoos
      • Once posted, it’s out there.
      • Photos and videos can be screenshot and stored on personal phones and company databases
      • Colleges have revoked admissions decisions and employers routinely check social accounts before hiring
  • Give your teen real life examples of social media brouhahas and discuss what went wrong
  • Protect Personal information  
    • Closely guard email, phone number and credit card information
    • Identity theft can happen
  •  Monitor Followers
    • Limit followers to friends they know personally to be extra safe.  
    • Be cautious when Friends have Fake Instagram Accounts (FINSTAs); pedophiles can masquerade as ‘friends’

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#4  Set Limits to Teach Self Regulation

  • Discuss limiting use to 1-2 platforms and capping the amount of time spent on each to ~ 30 minutes
    • Research has shown these are the keys to healthy social media use
  • Alter Privacy Settings to Minimize Unwanted Contact hover saying: Privacy Setting found in each
    • Know what personal information is being shared. Avoid publishing your home address–turn off geotagging on your phone’s camera. TechTip icon Link to Tech tip #12
  • Encourage your teen to turn their phone off to minimize distractions during homework, time with family and friends, and sleep

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#5  Communicate openly and often

  • Be Upfront and Share Your Concerns.
  • Give Guidance for Time Usage (see Our Primer)
  • Encourage Them to Limit Their Usage to 1-2 Platforms. Research has indicated that teen’s stress levels increase the more platforms they engage on. Plus, if you’re keeping tabs, it will be easier for you to monitor activity.
  • Make Your Expectations Clear. Use Our Family Media Contract to set parameters around followers and appropriate usage (e.g. what to share, secret accounts, digital citizenship, parental monitoring etc.).
  • Check-in every few weeks–Have a conversation about how it’s going.

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#6  Know which tools can help you

  • Use our screen-time calculator to help your teens realize how limited their time is and how to budget time for social media accordingly  
  • Support your teen in developing self-awareness. Introduce tools such as:
    • Apple Screen Time to set daily time limit reminders. ADD Icon of apple Screen Time
    • Bark monitors your teen’s social media accounts 24/7 to detect potential issues while also preserving privacy. Add Bark guide icon
    • OurPact can help you set daily time limits for specific apps, allows you to set schedules and turn off the internet at your discretion.   
  • Apple Notes can help you manage passwords – 2 options:
    • Create a locked note   ANCHORED TO TECH TiPS #19
    • shared note ANCHORED TO TECH TiPS #2O

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