In one of our previous posts, we talked about the best way to handle difficult situations with your teen- having open communication. Being available and having regular quality time together can let topics that are hard to discuss come up on their own instead of forcing it when you are both feeling emotional.
This can be tough when you are trying to talk about social media – something that your teen usually does in private.
You may have totally different perspectives on social media.
For your teen – it is an exciting place where they can actually do a lot of the things they are supposed to be doing. Things like establishing their identity – that means deciding what kind of picture they want to post, what kind of status update, who their friends are. At this age, what friends think is really important to your teenager – how many likes they get about a joke they post could be something that makes or breaks their day. They can experiment interacting with someone they feel attracted to – maybe they can like that person’s picture and see if that person like’s theirs.
For you – you may worry about your teen posting something that they get bullied about, about them sharing private information that can hurt them down the line, or that they are spending too much time on social media or that it is making them feel bad about themselves.
These are all valid concerns. One way to approach talking about social media are to bring up some of the good things about it.
You could say: “Did [friend’s name] post any pictures from her birthday party? Can I see?”
Or: “Can you help me set up my Facebook? I don’t know if I’m doing this right.”
Teens love to share when they are experts on something adults don’t know about. Understanding what is fun about social media for them can help you have open communication about it. This will let you ask the tough questions like, “Does using social media ever put you in a worse mood?” or “Are any of your friends getting bullied on social media? I worry about that happening to you.”
If you talk to your teen with a statement showing that you care like “This makes me worry” or “Can you show me” it might help your teen open up. This can eliminate your children feeling like you are lecturing them.
What do you think? Have you tried talking about social media with your teen and what has worked for you?