Social Media has spread across the world like wildfire, and in this day and age, it seems like everyone from young to old is posting something. Whether it is Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram, millions of people in the social media community are expressing themselves through video, text, and photos.
So…when is it ok for our kids to jump on the bandwagon? Do we just stick to the guidelines already set out by social media?
For example, Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account (in some jurisdictions, this age limit may be higher). Is 13 old enough to fly through the somewhat polluted air of social media? Do we allow our children to join early and stalk their page? Do we respect their privacy? How do you even know if they haven’t done it behind your back? If you catch them, what are the consequences?
As a mom of two girls ages 9 and 4, I really have to think about these things. I already check the history on my 9-year-old’s YouTube search and was appalled at some of the suggested links that popped up. Safe search settings don’t clean up everything.
My four-year-old, thankfully, is not interested online in anything other than Dora the Explorer games or Nerdie Nummie videos about cooking on YouTube, but she will catch up to her sister one day, and then I am going to need a lot of prayer!
So far, in my home, I have only allowed my 9-year-old to have Snapchat, and I monitor the heck out of it. She communicates with my friends by sending them silly pictures and funny videos, and for now, I am okay with that.
The guidelines on internet safety and behavior along with consequences have been set. The question she has for me now is “when can I have the other accounts, Mom?” and “why can’t I have them now?”
Is it enough to tell your child “because I said so”? How do you explain the dangers of social media without looking like a hypocrite for having many accounts yourself? Tell me what you think, because this single mama could use some tips!