When it comes to keeping your kids smart on social media, let’s be honest…it can be a little overwhelming. With new apps constantly popping up and rules always changing in the social media world, it can be a bit stressful with knowing best practices. So what do you do?
First off, that’s why Be Socially Smart is here; to help you navigate the latest and greatest in social media with your kid. Second, there are 2 major categories to consider in keeping your kid socially smart: Knowledge and Intentionality. Knowledge helps you gain information and understanding on the different social networks your child has. Intentionality is where the rubber meets the road. Intentionality is not only putting your knowledge into action, but it’s also learning how to win in your relationship with your social kid at the end of the day.
Here are 7 tips for being more intentional with your social kid:
Tip 1: Be Proactive vs. Reactive
Being proactive helps you to be ready for the curve balls that life throws you. Stay ahead of the game (besociallysmart.com is here to help with this!) When you react in the moment to negative situations, typically your response is something you will regret later. So coach your kid to be smart socially, don’t wait for them to mess up or find out the hard way. Choose to initiate the conversation.
Tip 2: Learn to Listen Better
Maybe you’ve heard this before: there’s a reason God gave us two ears and one mouth; we need to listen more. Our kids need someone to talk to, so be a listening ear. When their world is falling apart, be a listening ear. When they mess up on social media, start by listening to their reasoning. Listening shows and proves that you care and are interested in what they have to say. Listening helps you make relational deposits and gain respect. Practice listening…you may be surprised at what you hear.
Tip 3: Nudge vs. Nagging
“Nudges don’t generally make us do anything, but they make certain choices easier and more likely.” – Andy Crouch
At the end of the day, you want your kid to WANT to make smart choices and do the right thing, so nudge them in the right direction. Paint the picture for what their social media usage could look like. For example, when you give your kid a gentle nudge to do something, it puts the ball in their court to make the right decision. It empowers them to make healthy choices. A negative motivation comes from nagging, but a positive motivation comes from a gentle nudge.
Tip 4: Do Social Media Together
YouTube, Online Gaming, Apps, etc.…do some of these things together! Share interesting or funny things you saw on social media with each other. Be intentional in meeting your kid where they are. All in all, your involvement improves their involvement (you know what to expect, and they know you are engaged, so they are more apt to be socially smart and careful).
Tip 5: Be Vulnerable
Isn’t there something about when someone chooses to be vulnerable and honest with you about their imperfections; you want to lean in and empathize with them. Share with your kid your struggles when you were a kid or teen and how you dealt with them. They may roll their eyes, but I guarantee you there are some similarities they can relate to, even if you didn’t have social media growing up. Also, be vulnerable in sharing with your kid on how this whole social media thing is a learning curve for you. The more vulnerable you are, the more vulnerable they will be in return.
Tip 6: Start Small and Slow
Whether you have a kid who is about to start using social media or has been using it for a short amount of time, it’s wise to limit their usage and availability. Start small and slow. Only allow one social media platform at a time. And when they have proven that you can trust them, you might allow them to gain another one. If you are just now starting to monitor their usage, start slow, otherwise, you might come off as intrusive. Let them know you will need to monitor their usage more for a while so you can get a good feel for how they are doing. Remember, you’re the parent, and it’s a privilege that they get to have social media, so feel free to use your influence to set boundaries and agreements.
Tip 7: Follow the Leader
“Kids learn more from observation than information.” – David Thomas
Your child will follow your example. The amount of time and energy you put into your social media usage speaks volumes to how they will use it. What you post on social media matters: If you post things that are questionable, negative, or inappropriate, they will feel the freedom to do the same. If you post things that are uplifting, encouraging, and positive…you will produce perfect children! Not really, but your kid will be more inclined to lean towards positive posting. What you do matters; what you don’t do matters. Set the example!
Please keep in mind, being socially smart doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time; time to gain the knowledge you need and time to build rhythms of intentionality. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it. Your kid is worth it. Let Be Socially Smart be your guide to keeping your kid socially smart.