Q&A: Educating teen about social media best practices

Q: I’m trying to educate our 14-year-old daughter about “best practices” for social media before we let her create her own account(s). I like to get input from various sources. What would you suggest?

A: First, we commend you for being intentional to educate your daughter on how best to navigate today’s social media. We compiled a list that we’ve entitled “The Top-10 Social Media Rules” for all ages, but most are especially applicable for teens:

  1. Always be kind – treat others the way you want to be treated.
  2. View social media as a way to give; consider how things you post can benefit others.
  3. Set privacy settings, including location.
  4. Don’t chat/message someone you don’t personally know in the “real” world.
  5. Please, no sleaze! Modesty trumps “likes” when posting photos. (And remember that everything you post will be available for future “significant others” – and employers – to see.)
  6. Nothing should be truly private. Know your children’s passwords and convey that you’ll be friending them and reading their posts. Be sure your children can read yours, too.
  7. Refuse to share a post that you haven’t personally verified; that free dinner may just be a scam.
  8. Limit your social media consumption/posting to just a few times per day, with parental input.
  9. Avoid crudities, vulgarities, profanities or symbols for such. Don’t say it online if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face.
  10. Re-read carefully before you post – without facial expressions and personal contact, the best-intended post may be misinterpreted.

We’d suggest cutting out this list and discussing each guideline with your daughter, then placing it somewhere visible for reference.

© 2018 Focus on the Family.  All rights reserved.  Used by permission.

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