Are your kids on social media?

Social media is like a wildfire. Once it catches on, it keeps going and is very difficult to stop. I will admit, it has been a challenge trying to keep up with the technological prowess of my kids, let alone trying to be one step ahead of their social media use! Near impossible.

Right now I’m exploring  Instagram–a popular photo-sharing application. The application is a big hit with preteens and teens (which I find very interesting since most social media sites indicate 13 years old as a minimum age requirement… I digress).  The simple question to my son, “Are you on Instagram?”, changed my thinking about social media forever. He had not purposely kept it from me but by the time I discovered he was using Instagram, he had over 100 followers.

So I decided to embrace social media. If my kids are there, I want to be there. I am determined to figure this out, even if it gets my head spinning–which it has! I want to guide my kids along this journey while they teach me all about social media. Think of it like when you used to watch over them at the park, slowly increasing freedoms as they grew and became more independent and responsible. The same principles apply to social media. They need you more than ever!

Let me show you grandad!

I am happy to report my son had not posted any personal information on his account. His privacy settings were set to maximum. YES! He had been listening to us about not sharing personal information on the Internet! Except for (of course) when it came to knowing all his followers.  “How could you possibly know all these people?” His response: “They are friends of my friends”. Very interesting deduction: A friend of a friend does not equal someone I don’t know.

No worries, learning takes time. That’s why I’m now on Instagram and follow my kids. It’s a condition of being on social media. I know their passwords–a condition of owning a device. These have been our house rules from the start.  I don’t want my kids to feel like I’m watching every move they make, so we talk. We talk about respect online. We talk about never ever posting anything when you are upset or emotional. We talk about how once it’s posted, others can share it and it’s there forever. So be aware.

I ask my kids questions as I learn about Instagram.  I think they really do like teaching me and helping me navigate through this digital world.  I continue to trust my kids and give them liberties as they show more and more responsibility online.  I’m learning more about social media.  And I’m learning more about my kids. So yes, I’m now on Instagram along with over 300 million others.  But I follow only two!

Share your parenting experiences when it comes to social media. We would love to hear from you!

For parenting information or to speak with a Public Health Nurse (every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) simply dial 311 or 905-825-6000.

About Cynthia Lindsay RN

Hi everyone. My name is Cynthia Lindsay and I work as a public health nurse with the school years program. I've been a nurse for almost 20 years (wow time flies!) with the last 10 years focused on what I've discovered to be my passion... Parenting. I now have many parenting accreditations and enjoy connecting with parents in the community through Triple P, parenting groups & social media. "Je parle aussi le français" and I love working, making connections, and raising my teen son & pre-teen daughter with my hubby in Halton.
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3 Responses to Are your kids on social media?

  1. Carolyn Wilkie, RN says:

    Great Blog Cynthia!
    Nice work!
    Carolyn

  2. Such a positive spin on this subject! And as their expertise increases, some kids will eventually have more than one account on the same platform ….one for the eyes of watchful parents and the other a secret one just for “friends” eyes only.

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