Social media has both positive and negative aspects. Tweens and teens flock to social media like Facebook and Twitter. Besides email, this is the most popular form of communication with this age group. This age group is digitally savvy but overall lacks maturity and judgment. It is important that parents talk with children about using social media and Internet Etiquette. 

Tweens are more likely to use texting and instant messaging and teens use both and social media. Parents should limit the number of computers in the home and keep them in the family room or sun room where you can watch how they are used. Try to get your kids to talk about their online social media activities if you can.

Learn about other tweens and teens’ Internet activities by talking to other parents with kids. If you can learn to use the technology your kids’ use do so. You will know how it works and also be able to talk with them about it. Teach them that anything they write or photos they send can be shared with the world. Set limits for Internet and cell phone use. Don’t buy a tween or teen their own cell phone.

Teach them that when they post information whether on Facebook or through email only share what they would want everyone to know. When they fill out a profile, limit the amount of information in it. Tell them when posting photos to avoid embarrassing or comprising ones. These photos can be sent around the Internet causing them pain and embarrassment. Sexy photos can often attract the attention of someone that may not be ethical.

Teach them to post only photos of themselves that they would not want their parents or teachers to see. A sexy photo on the Internet is like putting an advertisement on TV. Once a photo is sent or posted it cannot be returned. Many tweens and teens take photos of themselves in comprising situations that have devasting consequences. It happens to both boys and girls.

A photo they send to their boyfriend or girlfriend can be shared with others. Tell them never to send photos to someone that they do not know that demands them from social networks or other websites. Often when you are on the Internet you do not know who the other person is. They should tell an adult when someone sends them inappropriate messages and photos.

On the positive side, social media can be a place to share hobbies and common interests with other kids their age. Teach them when posting never to make fun of, bully, or say negative things to other members. Tell them not to post comments when angry but wait until they have calmed down.

If they are on different social media sites they should use different user names and passwords on each one. Tweens and teens should participate in chat rooms that have specific topics like cooking, hobbies and a moderator. Tell them not to reveal too much personal information online. Keep the discussion light and fun. This makes for a more pleasant experience.

Teen Dating and the Internet

Teens use social media, cell phones and email as a big part of dating. Parents with teens should teach them some tips about using the Internet wisely. Discourage teens from meeting and dating anyone online. It is better for them to date someone from school or gets to know other kids in social situations. They should learn proper internet etiquette when communicating when socializing or dating.

If your son or daughter is dating using cell phones or social media try to keep up with what is going on. Have an idea of what types of messages and photos are being sent. Don’t bury your head in the sand. Limit the amount of time they spend on the Internet and have them involved in other activities.

If they meet someone online that they want to date. Tell them to meet them in a public place with a friend. Don’t ever meet someone at night alone. Get to know the person by going out a few times before going anywhere alone with them. This is just a common sense way to date.

Teach tweens and teens to avoid anyone that seems overly jealous and controlling online. Anyone that uses name calling and threats should be reported to a parent or teacher. Some adults will pose as a teen and threaten to tell personal information to friends and family. This should be reported too. Know the dating sites for teens like Fudatecity, Chatpit, Flirtbox, Dating Friend, and my LOL and how they work. The more you know the better.

Instagram is a social network where teens share photos and common interests. Teens should search for friends with common interests using the suggested user function or look for hashtags that interest them. Over 17 percent of teens like Instagram for social networking. Tumblr is another social network for teens. It has microblogging for short posts, and the ability to post photos and meet others with similar interests.

Again meeting others online is ok but encourage teens to meet others in person. Tell them to look for others with common interests whether it is shopping, reading, dancing, making crafts, playing or watching sports, or cooking. Common interests and backgrounds make better relationships.

Teens and tweens are naturally trusting and will use the Internet, cell phones, and social media to meet friends and date. Don’t think that your child or children are not using the Internet because they never talk about it. Teaching them at a young age internet etiquette rules will help pave the way for safety online.

Videos are another way that tweens and teens share information. Videos can be an enjoyable way to share information or be used in a negative way. Again like photos don’t allow tweens and teens to film videos unless you know the contents. Too many tweens and teens have filmed themselves in sexy compromising positions. These videos are sent to the wrong person leading to tragedy.

Social media and the Internet can be a good way for tweens and teens to socialize. When parents and caregivers monitor their use and talk with them about proper posting, photos, and dating rules social media can be a positive force instead of a negative.