Mommy's Favorite Things: Managing Social Media When Kids are Home!

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Managing Social Media When Kids are Home!

Before kids and teens even start their morning routine, many of them turn to their phone to scroll through Facebook, watch TikTok videos, play games and check their text messages. 

While all of this is fine if monitored (especially if it is their only way to communicate with peers during quarantine) it can be hard to ensure that not only their time is limited on screens but also that they are staying safe while online. 

Allowing your child/teenager to be on their phone, tablet or other technological device may appear to be no big deal, but sometimes this behavior can be dangerous to their mental, emotional and even physical health.

Studies have shown that social media can be bad for anyone’s health. Vulnerable kids/teenagers are even more susceptible to the pull of social media and the dangers it can lead to. From playing the comparison game with friends to talking to possibly dangerous strangers online, there are so many ways in which your kid can put themselves in danger and/or decimate their health.

However, it is important for kids and teens to keep in touch and still feel like they have some freedom when they are online. The answer is definitely not to take their devices completely away. Luckily I’ve got some tips for you to help you manage your child’s social media time and ensure that they are staying safe.

Tip #1- Create a schedule for your child

To avoid your child going overboard with screen time, you can set a schedule for them in order to ensure that not only are they getting important things done for the day, but that they aren’t spending too much time on their screens. You can add physical activities to their schedule, going outside, reading time, etc.

A schedule is great for a child’s overall health as kids and young adults find safety in structure.

Tip #2- Use parental controls

Check any device that your child uses and see what the parental control options are. Most devices have parental control options.

Tip #3- Check their privacy settings

Check the privacy settings of every social media app on your child’s devices  to see who can see what on your child’s profile. For example, Facebook allows you to choose who sees their posts and if people can send them a friend request.

Tips #4- Use a phone monitor app

There are phone monitoring apps that allow you to monitor only certain things on your child’s devices while there are others that allow you to monitor multiple things with it. For example, mSpy allows you to monitor GPS location PLUS who they call, text, what apps they use, as well as other things.

My suggestion would be to do your own research to decide not only if you want to monitor their devices with a monitoring app but also what app works best for you to use.

Tip #5- Keep communication open

It's important to make sure your kid is comfortable enough to talk to you about anything that concerns them. Additionally, it is also important to ensure that you know everyone that your child has added on social media and who they are communicating with themselves.

Tip #6- Make sure they are not sharing their personal details

Since some children might find social media as a way to express themselves and to stay in touch with everyone, your kid might share information about themselves that shouldn’t be displayed on their social media profile. They might not understand the limits to what should be shared and what shouldn’t on their profile. This ties in again with keeping communication open and what is appropriate and what is not.

Tip #7- Know what social media sites that your child is using

Some popular social media and communication sites/apps are:
       Kik Messenger
       Facebook Messenger

Please be aware that many of these apps can be dangerous for your child if not monitored. Make sure to review each app, it’s policies and features.