Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr; social media sites have become a central part of popular culture, and teens are some of the biggest users of these sites. However, many families don’t have rules in place to manage the social media use by their children. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this should change.

While teens may be the largest population of social media users, they lack the maturity that is needed in order to use these social media sites responsibly. For that reason, parents need to step in and monitor use in order to ensure that their children remain safe.

Bullying, sexting and basic over-exposure are all issues that occur on social media channels, and teens are at the centre of these issues. The repercussions of these issues can be quite damaging; but how does a parent step in and monitor their teen’s social media use? With the proper tactics, social media monitoring can be done with success, and parents can ensure that their teens are using these outlets responsibly.

Become Their “Friend”

One of the best ways that parents can monitor their teens’ social media use is by being active users of the sites their children are using. Create a Facebook profile and ‘friend’ your teen. This will allow you to keep a close eye on what your child is viewing – and posting. If you notice that any issues arise, you can ask and talk to your teen about them right away before problems become worse.

Talk About It

Parents should talk to their teens about their own social media use. Facilitating conversations about your own social media use will not only allow your children to learn about proper practices but will also encourage them to share how they use it themselves. When your children talk about their social media use, you can keep a closer eye on what they are doing and correct any behaviour, should it be warranted. Also, let your child know the dangers of social media and what could potentially happen if they use it incorrectly.

Stay in View

Make sure that the computer in your home is in easy view. This will allow you to keep an eye on what your kids are doing on social media and monitor how much time they are spending on social media channels. It also would not be a bad idea to limit the time they spend on their cell phones. After all, they are teens and should be staying active, not just glued to a screen.

Download a Monitoring App

If your teen has a mobile device and uses social media channels on that device, download a monitoring app. Apps like TeenSafe allow you to keep a close eye on your children’s activity on their mobile devices. Through these tools, you can easily monitor their social media use, as well as their text messaging, their calls and even their web browsing history.

Be Blunt

Sometimes the best way for your kids to learn the gravity of a situation is by being blunt. Explain to your teens that everything that is placed on social media can be seen by virtually the entire world. Pictures that are shared on Facebook and messages that are sent over Twitter can be seen by a huge audience. Make it very clear that it is in their best interest to post properly, and that they should set appropriate privacy settings. In fact, you can set their privacy settings for them.

Don’t put off creating a social media plan for your teens; put one into practice today. These tactics can help you to ensure that your teens are using social media outlets safely and responsibly.

Vera Reed is a journalist who has a background in education and parenting. She has two children and wants to make sure they are well aware of social media and how to properly use it and the dangers of it. She hopes this article helps out parents with ways to help manage their child’s social media use.

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