social media safety for teens familiesWelcome to Generation S. The generation where people choose to be part of it. People ranging in age from toddlers to grandparents and everything in between. There is no limiting factors such as age, location or education. It's simply a choice.

Social media is here to stay for all generations.

Did you know…

  • 72% internet users are active on social media
  • 89% usage among 18-29 year olds
  • 71% access social media from mobile device
  • 90% mobile users have their device within arms reach 100% of the time

It is critical we help our entire family become socially savvy. Being socially savvy includes being smart about the social networks, knowing the risks, knowing how to get out of trouble when it happens and having fun! Communication is critical to success from the start to help it be an enjoyable experience for all.

We recently conducted a “Socially Media Savvy Family” seminar for families in our local community in partnership with CrossPointe Church in Orlando.

Below is the deck we used as well as the highlights from the presentation. We will be conducting more similar presentations and plan to take it on the road soon as it is a very important topic and too many parents are left in the social media dark in how to keep their families safe and still have fun using social media. Please contact us if you are interested in us conducting a seminar for your community or organization.

6 Steps To a Social Savvy Family

1. Be smart 

corporate social media training

Being smart starts with having a plan. Many families should consider a parent/ teen social media contract. Smart social savvy families also know the technology, risks, and communicate about all of the above. They make decisions based upon their specific family members including children and teens. There is no one size fits all cookie cutter approach to your teen using social media. You must take into account their maturity level, knowledge of technology, friends and mindset. Are they ready for the social networks? If yes, how ready?

2. Partner and work together. 

internet teen safety The key word here is communication. It is important to be proactive. Communicate early and often. Don't wait until there is a problem to communicate. Ensure that you have an open door communication policy with every member of your family regarding social media. Children and teens should feel comfortable coming to you with questions as well as letting you know immediately should they run into trouble or encounter something or someone that makes them feel uncomfortable.

3. Be safe. 

social media dangers teens kids Being safe starts with the human beings within your family. How ready are they for social media? Do they have the proper education? Many teens wind up in negative situations using social media primarily because they were never properly educated on the risks. Be sure you do the appropriate research on the social networks, tools and technology. Educate yourself on the privacy settings and implement them as you desire. Know the risks and plan for them. Discuss the risks and how you will handle negative situations. Remember, you are their partner. You are also their parent. Parent first, Facebook friend second.

4. Have a purpose. 

social media for teens have a purpose What is your purpose using social media? What is the purpose of your teen or children using social networks? Is it to connect with friends? Nurture relationships? Learn? Help and support others? Support a social good cause, fundraiser or other event? Be sure to prioritize social networks and time based on a purpose. Teach your kids the importance of not being everywhere at once. Avoid the FOMO – Fear of Missing Out syndrome.

5. Keep identity in check. 

social media teamWho are you? Who is your teen? What are your family values? Know the difference between authenticity and transparency. You don't have to share everything about your life, what you ate for every meal to be authentic. Teach your family that it is okay to share different level of information with different people.

Watch for changed behaviors that may identify bullying or other issues.

Help them keep a grip on not getting addicted to vanity metrics such as number of Facebook likes, comments or followers on Twitter or Instagram.

Our worth on this planet is not measured by the number of followers and likes we have, but by the value we provide to others and the positive impact we have on their lives. Read: Should I Share What I Ate for Lunch on Social Media? Authenticity vs Transparency

6. Find balance. 

social media teen safety Help your family learn how to “turn off.” Set boundaries, time limits and be a role model for smart and savvy use of social media.

Check out the site “Hands Free Mama.” It is a revolution started by Rachel Macy Stafford with a vision to help keep eyeballs off the technology and instead shift some of that time to looking at one another eye to eye, hugging, laughing and living life. Rachel and her efforts literally changed our family. A few years ago we committed as a family to be a “Hands Free Family.” Now when we go out to eat, enjoy sporting and other events we put phones down. We check in when we get there, take a few pictures and do our best to enjoy the moment real time! We eat dinner together at the table with no technology every opportunity we get. My 10 yr old and 14 year old are the biggest proponents. Anyone that comes to visit us, they quickly inform them of our agreement. It's amazing how many kids enjoy it and have taken the concept back to their family!

The key for finding balance is to remember that your social network engagement can be a way for you to tell your story. Focus more on having a story to tell vs telling the story.


Your Turn! 

What are your thoughts? What are you most concerned about in regard to teens and kids getting online and engaging in social networks? How do you keep you and your family safe? How do ensure good and positive communication to minimize risk?