Celebrating the Holidays with Social Media

Celebrating Holidays with Social Media

Do you wish that title read: Celebrating Holidays Without Social Media?

As my son would say, then you’re clearly over 40! Because social media is here to stay, and it’s a constant with us, even more-so if you have kids. My opinion: if you have kids, it’s your responsibility to be familiar and current on social media trends and issues. Why?

Your kids are social citizens: they live in the world of social media, where their thoughts, actions, and movements are typically shared on social media. For better or worse.

After the tragedy at Newton, CT, I had several friends and family members ask me what Twitter and Facebook were saying about the tragedy. Why ask me? Because they have grade school and high school kids and wanted to know what their kids were reading. And they’re too busy for social media. But they had the time to ask me?

Kids are on social media. One way or another. If you buy your 10 year old a smart phone for safety reasons, no matter what settings you select, in a short time they’ll be using social media. Because their friends all are on social media.

• It’s just Instagram.
• She has an older sister. I let her monitor it.
• Their school doesn’t allow SnapChat.
• I’m his friend on Facebook so I know everyone he’s talking to.
• She won’t friend me on Twitter.

Does any of this sound familiar? They’re all excuses I’ve heard from parents on why they aren’t monitoring their kids’ social media accounts. I remind them that:

• their teen probably has a secret non-mom monitored Facebook account
• they can resort to using a fake name to follow their child on Twitter
• I’m not sure a 13 year old is the best judge of what’s appropriate for a 10 year old

I get shocked faces and long explanations. Or total silence.

Yes I have kids. Yes I was a kid. Yes I know kids are going to try every angle to get around a parental restriction. But that doesn’t mean you don’t impose the restrictions. That doesn’t mean you act like its “all too difficult” for you to follow social media. It’s not that hard to know whats going on!

At our big family Christmas Eve party 20 kids were tweeting, posting and chatting with their friends and sharing family photos, silly comments, crazy dancing, and wardrobe and gift critiques. You don’t approve? Too late – it’s out there. And if you want to protect your child, don’t ask me what your kid is reading on social media.

• open your own social media accounts and find and follow your kid
• read everything you can about the latest trends and issues in social media
• ask your child’s school to hold a parental in-service to help you understand the social world your child lives in

However you decide to manage your child’s involvement with social media, just don’t pretend its too new and complicated for you to understand. Your child is counting on you.

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