What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Social Media?

Let’s talk about social media. For us parents, it's a hot topic. We wonder, “Should I let my kids engage in social media? When? Is it safe? What if they see something they shouldn’t? What if they get addicted? What rules do I need to set?” The uncertainties go on and on.

That’s because we are the first generation of digital moms who need to figure this out. We can’t ignore it. Social media and online relating are here to stay. If we do our job properly, our kids will one day leave our care and make decisions on their own. And, most likely, one of those decisions will be “I will use social media”.

So, you’ve got a responsibility now. It is up to you to teach your children healthy social media habits while they are in your care. Just like you need to let them experience money so that they grow up to be fiscally responsible, you need to let them experience social media so that they grow up to be digitally responsible. [Related Post: 5 Tips for Healthy Tech Habits in Your Famiy]

It's your responsibility to teach your children healthy social media habits while they're in your care. Just like you need to let them experience money so that they grow up to be fiscally responsible, you need to let them experience social media so that they grow up to be digitally responsible. Read to find out how to get started teaching your kids about social media

Preview 5 homeschool lessons from Online Unit Studies

Now (ready for some personal conviction?) the first step to teaching your children is to examine your own habits to decide if you are setting a good example. I learned this the hard way. Early on in my Facebook “life”, my (then) 11-year-old daughter looked at me and said, “Mommy, when I wake up in the morning, I always see you on Facebook. Are you spending any time with God in the mornings?” Ouch! I realized then (and many times since) that I needed to address my habits and identify social media’s place in my life.

What I Teach My Kids About Social Media

I have since set some personal rules about social media. I'm proactively teaching these boundaries to my children in hopes that they will develop healthy habits.

  • I narrow my social media channels. I don’t need to use every social media platform. I need to find the ones where my “real” friends are and stick with those. For me, that’s Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Periscope.
  • I relate back when someone interacts with me. If they comment, I “like” or “comment” back. If they react to my posts often, I’ll react to theirs. If they tag me in a post or picture, I comment. It’s the same as if someone waved to me on the street or said “Hi!”. I would say “Hi” back…common courtesy that should be applied to online interaction as well.
  • I only post positive things. You know, what Thumper said in Bambi, “”If you can't say something nice… don't say nothing at all.” That’s a standard we live by in our home, so I need to “speak” the same way online.
  • I ask permission before I post anything about someone else. I don’t share stories about my kids without asking their permission. That’s the same courtesy I would want in return.
  • I don’t make my feed “all about me”. I share accomplishments to encourage and inspire others. I brag on my kids to build them up. I share cute stories because they bring joy to others. But, I try hard not to “toot my own horn”. And no selfies, unless I have a good “not about me” comment to go with it.
  • I use discernment about sharing my location, either with words or with images. It's not that I live in fear, but I want to set an example of prudence. Safety is never a bad thing.
  • I don’t friend everyone. I only accept friend requests from people who I've interacted with face-to-face (or voice-to-voice) within the past year. Or they played a significant role in my life at some point. Also, I don’t friend/follow men unless they are mutual friends with my husband.
  • I turn off notifications if a “friend” is spammy or posts things I don’t like seeing. I don’t unfriend the person, but I don’t clog up my feed with their posts.
  • I unfriend someone who posts inappropriate things. My gauge is “Would I want my kids seeing this?” No? Goodbye, click.

I’m sharing this to get you thinking, my friend. Even if your kids are too young to be on social media, they are forming habits just by watching you. I encourage you to examine your social media habits and determine “Are these the same habits I want my kids to have? What am I teaching my kids about social media?” [Related Post: A Mom's Greatest Struggle in this Tech-Driven World]

What are your social media habits? Are they ones you want your kids imitating? Let's chat about it.

Yellow dots

  • Can you confidently direct your kiddos about the legal use of digital media in their learning projects so that they are not stealing someone else's property? Are you teaching them how to be an upstanding digital citizen? Read this guide to help your homeschoolers understand the rules about using online images in student projects.
  • One crucial skill for digital natives is keyboarding. Techie homeschoolers need to know who to type efficiently, not only to create words but also to navigate around their documents and online. That's where all those extra keys on a keyboard come in. F-keys, Tab, CTRL, ALT. Have you or your kids ever wondered what all those extra keys are for they are all for? Read to learn some common CTRL key shortcuts.
  • Visual design projects are a great way for homeschoolers to share what they learn. Do you need to add more projects into your homeschool lesson plans? Be inspired with these 15 awesome projects homschoolers can create with Canva.
  • How would your kids like to create a virtual art gallery? They can use this webtool to share their own artwork or to demonstrate what they have learned about famous artists and artwork. This is a 'must do' project for any homeschool art curriculum. Get your free template today.

For more techie homeschool inspiration, follow me on Pinterest

Yellow dots

Want some techie homeschooling tips and inspiration delivered to your inbox? Sign up here.

   Join the Steve Spangler Science Club

The #1 Writing Tool

2 thoughts on “What Are You Teaching Your Kids About Social Media?

Leave a Comment