Parents should be knowledgeable, responsible users of social media themselves. If parents aren’t tech savvy, they should take the time to at least learn the basics. They should also have frank and open discussions with their children about social media and the consequences of misusing it.
When children are small, parents should set reasonable boundaries and expectations, and talk to even very young children about healthy use of social media. Parents should make sure their children know they can get help if they make a mistake on social media or if they are being abused or threatened on social media.
Parents should be media literate and help their children accurately evaluate what they see, hear, and read on social media. Children can also benefit from guidance in spotting false, fake, inaccurate and misleading information—and in understanding that what even trusted friends post can sometimes be inauthentic. Not everyone’s life is as fun or rosy as it might look on social media.
It’s important to find a balance between online activity and activity in the “real” or physical world. Children should be encouraged to engage in real world, face-to-face social interactions and to build friendships that exist off of social media platforms. At the same time, parents should understand that the ability to use and communicate with digital tools, including social media, can be an asset to their children if they learn to use them wisely.
The timeless values of love, trust, honesty, and open communication are more necessary than ever to help kids navigate an increasingly online world.
For ASU’s full social media guidelines, visit https://eoss.asu.edu/dos/srr/SocialNetworkingGuidelines
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