Safe Social Media Practices Starts with Communication

March 29, 2022

Have you had “The Talk”? 

When it comes to parenting on risky behaviours like alcohol, drugs, and sex, it is usually accompanied by a conversation. As parents, we want our children to be able to navigate these things in a safe and healthy way should they encounter them. 

Now, it’s time we include social media as part of the conversation.

It would be safe to say that social media has found its way into every aspect of our lives. It’s become more than just connecting with distant relatives across the world. It’s changed the way that we educate ourselves, how businesses market to us, and has changed the way we work. 

But, it’s come with a lot of risks, especially for our children and for young adults. With too much exposure to social media, studies show that young people are more likely to have elevated risks of anxiety, depression and loneliness. 

Over the course of the pandemic, we’ve relied on social media more than ever to fill our time and stay connected. But, is it inherently a bad thing? At #SafeSocial, we think it doesn’t have to be. But, we believe that without the proper strategies, social media has the ability to take over our lives.

At #SafeSocial, we believe that social media can have as many risks as they do benefits. We’re here to help provide a balance, to help you reap the benefits of social media, while mitigating its risks.  

So the question is: if abstaining from social media, without consequence, is not an option for some kids, how do they practice #SafeSocial?

Here are some tips on how to have “The Talk” with your kids about social media:

Start talking about social media early, and whenever it’s relevant

As soon as your kids get online, It’s important to communicate with them about their experiences online. Emphasize how important it is to be careful on social media. 

At this time, your kids may be more social media savvy than you are. Ask them what networks they’re on, what content they find interesting. Understanding how and what your kid consumes can give you a better understanding of how to protect them, and to understand it better yourself! 

Talk about privacy

Kids typically don’t have the lens of safety and security that adults have. Of course, this is the same on social media. Ensure you communicate with them that:

  • What you post stays there forever, it doesn’t disappear after 24 hours
  • Strangers online are still strangers, refrain from giving them any personal information
  • How to turn off location tags
  • How to make your account private, and limit who sees your post

Be there for your kids when they mess up

Though they may be well-versed in the tech world, your kid is trying to navigate the online world just as much as you are. They will mess up, and it might have the exact negative repercussions you warned them about. Be there for your kid, to navigate through the situation together and demonstrate how they might do this if it were to happen again. 

Practicing #SafeSocial is about reflecting on your own usage, and developing the right coping mechanisms to avoid a social media addiction. To learn more about our 5 Steps to Practicing #SafeSocial, head to our website, or check out this TEDxTalk by our founder Bailey Parnell.

Written by

Safiya Chagani

Safiya Chagani is the Email Outreach and Marketing Coordinator at #SafeSocial, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people be mentally well before, during, and after their social media use. By empowering young minds and providing resources to both educators and parents, #SafeSocial’s mission is for people to reap the benefits of social media, whilst mitigating its risks. Through their ambassador program, outreach, and monthly newsletter, they aim to encourage others to adopt the 5 Steps to Practicing #SafeSocial. You can read more about this organization here.