Social Media and Children
Our resident psychotherapist gives us ten tips on how to educate your child to use sites like Facebook and Instagram in a responsible way
Nowadays social media is incredibly popular: in the second quarter of 2015 Facebook had 1.49 billion monthly active users. This trend results in a new challenge for parents: how to educate your child to use social media in a sensible way? In this article I will give some guidelines. Tell your child the basic rule of social media: if you wouldn’t do something in real life, then you should not do it in the digital world. Create a profile together with your child and decide together who can see pictures and posts. “Just for friends” or a “private” account are the safest options. Explain that everything your child posts, will be on the internet forever; even if he (or she) deleted it. Have a talk with your child about the privacy of others; don’t share information or pictures of others without their permission. Be critical of contacts through social media. Explain to your child that he should only accept reliable friend requests. Check every now and then the list of friends together. Tell your child that he must never meet someone they met online. Your child should always talk to you about this first. Explain why your child should never share personal information online. It is important he keeps phone number, home address and email address hidden on the internet. Teach as well to keep their password secret. Make clear agreements on the amount of time spent using social media. It is not healthy if children are constantly absorbed by social media. Follow your child on social media sites. Not only to check if your child is using social media wisely, but also to stay informed about what’s going on in your child’s life. Fortunately most children use social media in a responsible way and this can contribute to their social development. At the stage of adolescence, the influence of social media sometimes gets out of control. If social media affects your child in a negative way and if this is at the expense of parental authority, it is important to get some professional help.
Rosan Ouwerkerk is a Dutch registered psychotherapist and she runs a private practice in Playa del
Carmen. If you think her help is required, you can contact her: rosan.