Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Feb. 23, 2015

It's Not Only Youth, Parents Love Social Media Too

Founder, Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc

According to a recent study from PEW Research Center, Facebook is still the most popular site for grown-ups, including parents. Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) is not far behind.

Over the past year, PEW Research revealed that adults have significantly increased their use of social media, with the average adult user now having at least two social media accounts.

Why is this great news?

We need parents to become more social media savvy to better understand the sites their children are using.

A large part of digital parenting is learning more about technology. This includes apps, social media sites, networking, websites, YouTube, texting (especially text-acronyms), and all things that involve online safety and security.

The more parents are hands-on with these sites, the better they are able to be aware if their child needs help or recognize the value of some of these apps and sites. Keep in mind, the Internet has many positive factors and is not to be feared.

The more parents are hands-on with these sites, the more aware they’ll be of an issue if their child needs help, and the more they’ll be able to recognize the value of some of these apps and sites.

Nothing can replace firsthand experiences, such as having the knowledge of Instagram or Snapchat or any other app, to help you better assist your child with their privacy settings or understanding how to delete or edit if they potentially shared something they shouldn't have or how to block people that are bothering them.  

With parents now more active on social media, this brings more cyber-awareness.  In another recent survey released by Primus and PREVnet, we learned that parents’ major concern for their children is cyberbullying - which now leads over teen pregnancy and substance abuse.

No one, at any age, is immune to online bullying. Oversharing can be one of the causes of online harassment.  

According to this survey: one in five parents admit to sharing intimate photos and/or messages online or via text.

Make no mistake, children, tweens, and especially teenagers are watching their parents’ actions online at the same time as their parents are monitoring them.  

What message are you sending your kids when you post inappropriate comments or pictures?  You may not think they are reading your social media News Feeds, but chances are - if they aren't, a friend is and it will get back to them.

We need to continue sending the message that no matter who we are, whether you’re a parent, child, tween or teen - it only takes one second to send an email, post a comment, or publish a photo that you could regret.  Pause and take at least 60 seconds to consider what you’re sharing and its repercussion (if it is debatable, I always recommend 24 hours). 

Social media is only growing and the studies are proving this is true for all ages. The fact cyberbullying is a leading concern, even for parents, is reason for everyone to consider their keystrokes carefully. In fact, PEW Research released last fall showed that 40% of adults are harassed online.

Online safety for all ages is always a priority. The best part about parents being more involved in digital life and social media online is the fact that offline parenting helps your kids make better online choices. Your offline discussions can become more informative now that you both are visiting similar cyber-turf.

Never stop talking offline with your kids about their digital life. Have your daily chats and hopefully they will ask about your digital life, too! Learning from each other benefits all involved, since technology grows faster than most of us can keep up with!  Much like our kids!

Cover image courtesy of Flickr.