According to a report released by Common Sense Media, the average high school student spends about nine hours a day on social media — nine hours! If your child is active on various social media platforms, there are some things as parents that you need to know.
The Good – Social media is a great way for your student to stay engaged with their school friends during the summer break. It allows your child to not only connect with others, but also to post about fun activities or vacations. It can even be used as a unique platform to share the love of Christ.
The Bad – While social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and more continue to gain popularity among teens, the time users spend on these sites consume much of their day. Summertime is the ultimate season to get outdoors and get moving, but spending large quantities of time on social media often turns your otherwise motivated students into couch potatoes.
The Ugly – While social media is not harmful in and of itself, the activities your child engages in through the medium can have lasting, detrimental effects. Everything from cyber bullying to being approached by a sexual predator can take place on social media accounts. Keep the conversation open with your child about the dangers of social media and how to use it appropriately.
Because we care about our students’ safety all year round, we’ve got four safety tips you can share with your student to help get the conversation going about social media safety.
Set Boundaries As parents, we highly recommend you do adequate research on the various social media platforms and their purposes. You may decide that Facebook and Twitter are appropriate for your student to use, but that Snapchat (desirable among users for its ability to send, and, after a few seconds delete pictures) is not.You know your student and their character and level of maturity better than anyone else. Let them know what you are comfortable with when it comes to their social media use, and remember, it’s okay to say no.
- Limit Daily Social Media Time
Establish a set amount of time that your student can utilize social media each day. Whether you decide 30 minutes or three hours a day is an adequate amount, talk with your child about the reasoning behind your time limit and then help hold them accountable for adhering to the decision you’ve settled on.
- Choose “Friends” Wisely
On almost every type of social media platform available, your child can be friend requested by others or be asked to engage in conversation with others. Sometimes your student will know the individual making the request, but sometimes they may not recognize the user asking to be friends.Alert your child to the danger of accepting strangers to be their friends, as this grants individuals access to view personal information about your child such as pictures, posts, and more. Remind them that not everyone is who they say they are online.
- Select High Privacy Settings
Social media accounts offer various levels of privacy settings. When it comes to protecting your child’s information, there’s no privacy setting too high! You can choose from privacy settings as unprotected as letting any user view any of your child’s information, to as strong and protected as only letting personal friends view your child’s page and photos.There’s even a setting on Facebook that can make your child’s page appear “unsearchable” to others, meaning if someone searches for your child’s name, your child’s account will not be found.
You have a special role as parents to keep your children safe, and we at Eastern Christian are here to partner with you and provide helpful resources. Learn more about how we work with your family to make sure your student gets to experiences school to the fullest.