8 ways to monitor Social Media Usage in Teens

control children's access over social media- Parenting resources by ZenParent

Social media usage has become an integral part of life for most of us today. Beginning with apps on their parents mobiles/tablets, children are getting introduced to social media at a very early age. Hand-held games like Nintendo DS also have built in social networking options. Parents therefore need to be conscious and aware of the repercussions of these interactions. With online predators and cyber bullying, this has become a critical part of parenting today.

1. Restrict underage usage: Every social media networking tool has a minimum age specified. Make sure that your child meets that minimum criteria.

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2. Talk to your child : Before your child launches off into facebooking, instagramming etc, you need to sit down and have a chat about :

  1. How stuff that is posted on the internet exists forever and how fast it can spread
  2. Cyber bullying
  3. Mindless gossiping, Rumour spreading
  4. Sexting
  5. Online Predators

It is important not only to safeguard our children from these dangers but also talk to them about the repercussions of bullying others or spreading rumours/pics about other kids online.

3. Befriend them online: Insist that your child has to accept you as a friend on Facebook and other social media pages. While they still can work their way around it in blocking content from your eyes, it is still a first line of protection and they will be careful.

4. Total Access : Let your teen(till 16 yrs atleast) know that you will have access to all their passwords and can access their account anytime. This should be a precondition for creating an account for them.

5. Filters: If your child uses social media extensively, it might be great to invest in software filters like Netnanny , Puresight PC, Truecare, uknowkids etc which will give you a snapshot of the activities of your child online.

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6. Monitor picture posting : Restrict your teenager from posting pictures of themselves online as much as possible. If that is too difficult, try and ensure that you have access to the pictures that they are posting .

7. Limit the time: Things usually get out of control when children are constantly on social media. So permitting the usage of it to a certain time of day will go a long way in avoiding unwanted problems. Give them access in a common area like the living room or dining room where people are always walking around.

8. Time out : If things get out of hand and you find that your teenager might be getting addicted to her social media interactions, call a time out and IMPOSE a vacation. Have them get off the tool for a week. SHOW THEM it is not a big deal by JOINING THEM and not using your facebook account etc for a week along with them.

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