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:
- Always be kind – treat others the way you want to be treated.
- View social media as a way to give; consider how things you post can benefit others.
- Set privacy settings, including location.
- Don’t chat/message someone you don’t personally know in the “real” world.
- 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.)
- 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.
- Refuse to share a post that you haven’t personally verified; that free dinner may just be a scam.
- Limit your social media consumption/posting to just a few times per day, with parental input.
- Avoid crudities, vulgarities, profanities or symbols for such. Don’t say it online if you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face.
- 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.
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