Can you guess what the number one thing kids and teens are looking forward to in a few weeks? That’s right…summer break! What a wonderful, fun time for students…and a scheduling nightmare for parents, am I right? JK! But on a serious note, this is the time of the year where students look forward to chilling out, taking a break, and many times doing NOTHING. And to be honest, those things are not bad in and of themselves. But if not careful, our kid’s break can turn into a digitally overloaded summer where all they do is focus on a screen (phone, tablet, TV, computer).
Think about it, if you’re already struggling with your kid in regards to their screen time and social media usage (most parents are), how much more will that struggle be in a few weeks when all our kids have is more time? With that said, we’d love to share four tips on how to keep your kid digitally and socially smart this summer. Here they are:
4 Tips to Keep Your Kids Socially Smart this Summer
1) Set Agreements, Not Rules
An agreement is where you and your kid agree upon appropriate expectations for their social media usage. A rule is something you, as the parent, form and your child must abide by your standards. Agreements empower, rules dictate. Consider doing a Social Media Agreement (here’s one we created). In this contract, you both can spell out expectations regarding screen time, no tech zones, random device checks, etc.
2) Stay in the Know
Sometimes kids can do or post things we have no idea about. This is why Google is your friend. Google search the following: your kid’s name, first and last, “first and last,” physical address, email address, city/state, etc. Many times, if your kid has posted something (comment, video, picture), it’ll show up here.
3) Do Social Media together
YouTube, Online Gaming, Apps…do these things together and have fun. Learn their likings. Share interesting or funny things you saw with each other. 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).
4) Stay involved
Because kids are sneaky and we can’t control their every move, thought, or what they see on social media, we can be a little fearful of what they are doing and posting online. Yes, monitoring devices and apps do help, be they are not the silver bullet for catching everything. The secret is…the more involved you are, the safer and smarter your kids will be! So do random phone checks, do social media together, have ongoing conversations, etc.
All in all, summer break is coming soon, so why not choose to be proactive by implementing one or all of these tips with your digital kid. Coach your kid to be socially smart; don’t wait for them to mess up. And if you feel like this is too big of a task or if it feels a bit overwhelming, consider joining the Be Socially Smart Community to stay up to date on all the latest social media happenings and tips you need to know about!