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By Jeanetta Jones Miller
Contrary to the opinion of tech-happy youngsters who proclaim, “All my friends have one,” children are not born ready to enter the digital world. As a parent, it’s your job to help guide your child through new experiences—joining a social network is no exception. Read these tips before letting your kid explore all that the social media world has to offer.
Set Up an Account Together
Even if you are already comfortable using social media, make sure you know how to set up your child’s account, tailoring the various privacy settings to your preferences. Resources such as Common Sense Media, LookOut Social and The Online Mom provide detailed information about how and why to do this.
Discuss the Goals
Set the Rules Together
Children are most likely to follow rules they have participated in setting, so sit down together and agree on guidelines that are specific to your family. Check out the Common Sense Media sample family agreement for ideas.
Allow Mistakes to Happen
Be a Role Model
Be a Parent, Not a “Friend”
Don’t Respond to Your Kid Publicly
Know You Can’t See Everything
Have Quality Face Time
Parenting in the digital age involves new challenges, but it’s still parenting. The best way to avoid problems is to know your child, be available, and listen at least as much as you talk.
Sometimes parents need to keep their own social media use in check. For a brutal breakdown on what not to do, read "Facebook Faux Pas: 7 Cringe-Worthy Social Media Moms."