by Matt Broughton, Technology Learning Coach, and Jason Edwards, IT Director/Data Protection Officer
As technology educators we tried to could write an algorithm to solve the challenge of preparing our children for social media:
IF maturity level = sensible THEN
Allow children to sign up for social media
Roblox might be a better option
Our Grade 6 MYP Design students, who are currently inquiring into the basics of computer science, wouldn’t be very impressed with our pseudocode, and for good reason. Thankfully, we stumbled across a recent CNN article that presented easy-to-follow advice for parents who are struggling to prepare their children for social media use. We’ve provided our take on a few of their points below.
- Talk to your children about social media before they start to actively use it
- Help your children find a balance in their social media choices. Focus on what they do, why they do it, how much time they spend doing it and whether their media choices are age-appropriate. A good starting point for this conversation is Common Sense Media’s Family Media Agreement.
- Teach them that social media is not private, and it's forever
- Remind them that what they post is public, and once it’s shared, it’s virtually impossible to take it back.
- Often social media feels like a private conversation with a group of friends, but it’s quite the opposite. Social media posts can be easily captured and shared causing issues for public figures and ordinary people alike.
- Be part of your child's social media experience
- “Friend” or “follow” your children on social media platforms.
- If children come across content that they are uncomfortable with, encourage them to talk to you about it.
With 90% of US teens reporting that they use social media in 2018, we know it is an integral part of the world in which we live and usage will grow, and as parents we must help guide and support our children to have positive experiences online where they can be meaningful and thoughtful contributors.
As always, if you have questions about your child's use of technology at school or at home, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.