Should We Panic About Kids Social Media Habits?
How do you use social media?
Consider the following questions:
1. How often do you use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter,
(Daily, Weekly, Less Often, Not at all)
2. How many friends/followers? Who is in your network?
(Friends, Family, Extended Family, Celebrities,
Others that you don’t know)
3. How private? (Private, Partially, Public)
4. How many do the following?
(post/profile real full name, post picture, email, city)
The following four slides provide details on real social
media incidents we have dealt with here at Marshall. As
you read the case studies, consider, what would you do
in these situations? Is your family ready for something
like this to happen? Have you put in the time and
relationship building to be able to move through
something like what has happened with your son or
Case Study 1
Your daughter alerts you that she and a friend have let a
stranger into a “conversation” on the social media site Kik (or any
social media network for that matter). In the beginning, the
“conversation” seems innocent enough but the stranger is now
threatening them because they won’t send more provocative
pictures of themselves. A few questions to consider: Have you
had previous conversations with your daughter about privacy
settings and/or online “stranger danger”? When does safety
becomes a concern? Have you opened the door for your
daughter to come to you for help? Do you notify the police?
Case Study 2
You hear from another parent that a player on
your son’s team is the target of mean spirited
tweets on Twitter. Some of the tweets are plain
mean and others can be interpreted as
threatening. Do you talk with your son about it?
Do you encourage your son to speak with the
coach? Do you tell the coach? Do you tell the
Case Study 3
You find out that your son/daughter has
contributed posts to a Facebook page that
posts mean-spirited, vulgar messages about
other students and teachers. What do you do?
Case Study 4
You find out about illicit behavior that was
videotaped and put on Vine about your child.
What do you?
Potential Social Media Conversation
● Could you show me your online profile(s)?
● Do you use your real name or age when
communicating with others online? What might be the
dangers of letting people know where you go to
● What kinds of things do your post on your page?
● How do you decide who to add as a friend?
● Would you feel comfortable if I checked your profile?
Tips for talking to teens about Social Media
Adapted from commonsensemedia.org
Be a model. Remember that your teens can see how you use social media, too. Model
good behavior for your teens, and keep your own digital footprint clean.
Review Privacy Policies and Information. Several FAQs, from General Safety to
Safety for Teens, provide detailed information on how to use the social media app safely.
Talk to your teens about controlling their information. Encourage them to be
selective about what they share by customizing the recipients of their posts. Activities on
social media apps, including the applications teens use and games they play, can be
viewed by others.
Use strict privacy settings. Review all of the options on your privacy settings page.
Social Media Apps’ default settings tend to keep information public until a user makes it
Pre-approve tags. Choose the settings that allow you to see everything you've been
tagged in (including photos) before the tag links to your page.
Use notification settings. You can tell social media apps that you want to be notified of
any activity performed on your name, including photo tags.
Don't post your location. Some social media apps let users post their location on every
post. Teens shouldn't do this for safety and privacy reasons. Teens can also "tag" their
friends' location but you can prevent anyone from tagging your location in the How Tags
Set rules about what's appropriate to post. No sexy photos, no drinking photos, no
photos of them doing something that could hurt them in the future. Teens also need to be
thoughtful about their status updates, wall posts, and comments on friends' posts.
Remind them that once they post something, it's out of their hands.
If in doubt, take it out. Use the "Remove Post" button to take down risky posts.
Encourage teens to self-reflect before they self-reveal. Teens are very much in the
moment and are likely to post something they didn't really mean. Work with them on
curbing that impulse. Teach them to ask themselves why they're posting something, who
will be able to read it, and whether it could be misunderstood or used against them later.
Watch out for ads. There are tons of ads on most social media apps, and most major
companies have profile pages. Marketers actively use social media to target advertising
to your teen.
Create your own page. The best way to learn the ins and outs of a social media app is
to create your own page. A great way to start talking to your teens about their social
media experience is to ask them to help you create your own page.
"Friend" younger teens. Talk to your high school-aged teens about whether they're
comfortable letting you "friend" them. If your kids are in middle school, it may be a
sound policy to know what they're posting, since teens that age don't necessarily
understand that they're creating a digital footprint. Keep in mind that kids can block you
from seeing things, so check in with them, too. Many parents say Facebook is the only
way they know what's going on in their teens' life, so tread cautiously.
Choose your battles. You'll see the good, the bad, and the truly unfathomable. Don't ask
them about every transgression, but be ready to converse with them about their posts,
comments, and social media habits.
Report inappropriate or criminal behavior to the appropriate authority. Most sites
have a reporting mechanism for non-criminal behavior. Criminal behavior should be
reported through law-enforcement agencies and the CyberTipline® at www.cybertipline.