A few months ago, we shared some tips for parents wondering if their child is ready for social media. While those suggestions are a good place to start, there is more to successful social media use than avoiding pornography and coping with cyberbullying. For parents who are still undecided, here are 3 more signs your child is really, truly ready for that Facebook account.
1) He has great impulse control.
Social media is full of seemingly harmless little temptations. The urge to scroll just a little farther or read just one more article can lead to hours of wasted time and even a technology dependency (Click here to help your family avoid getting hooked on screens). Teens can feel the pull to post things they shouldn’t. If your teen is struggling to fulfill existing rule and duties, maybe his social media life should wait a little longer.
2) She is willing to give you her password.
Or at least agree to your house rules about social media. An unwillingness to share her social media log in can be a particular red flag, though, because it may indicate that she thinks social media and privacy go together. No one should use social media without understanding that NOTHING ONLINE IS EVER PRIVATE.
3) Over sharing isn’t his weakness.
Does your teen spill secrets? Does he discuss private things in public places or with the wrong people? Did you catch him dishing on family skeletons at basketball practice last week? Over sharing is one of the most common mistakes teens and young adults make on social media. If your teen has a knack for maintaining appropriate levels of privacy, he may be ready. If he is prone to over sharing, you will want to talk about responsible social media use first.
Like sky diving, skiing, or mountain climbing, social media is a fun hobby with some risks. Manage those risks, though, and everyone can have a great time! Make sure your child is mature enough and properly prepared for social media, and she will be taking a significant step into twenty-first century adulthood.