Helping your teen use social media safely
Internet has facilitated a lot of things in our lives. From booking a cab, to buying grocery, one can manage every little task to important ones with the help of the internet. Internet has also given us social media which helps us stay connected with our friends and relatives, whether close or far-off. However, using social media has certain disadvantages too, especially for young teens. Not only do they spend a lot of time browsing social media, leading to social media addiction, they also tend to share personal information which might be used against them at any time. Thus, it is important for parents to monitor their teen’s social media usage and protect them from its perils.
Listed below are some tips which would help parents educate their children about their social media usage and ensure that their usage habits keep them safe.
- Educating yourself about social media – There was a time when only Yahoo and Orkut dominated the social media space, however, now there are plenty of platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc. Being a parent, one must be familiar with such sites so that when their teens talk about being active on a particular platform, they understand what the teen means. This would also help one decide which sites to allow the teen to use.
- Establishing time limit for your teen to use social media – Teens have a developing brain. Too much social media use can stress them out unknowingly. Therefore, parents must establish a time limit for their social media usage. While it might not be possible to keep an eye on them all the time, parents must tell them how excessive use of social media may affect their time allocation for other activities that they enjoy, such as school work, sport performances, and time spent with friends, among others.
- Regularly checking your teen’s privacy settings – Most of the social media sites have privacy settings which ensure that the personal information of their users is not exploited. Many times, the user has to change or upgrade the privacy settings manually. A parent must ensure that their teen’s privacy settings are updated to personal or only friends at all times.
- Keeping your teen’s profile private – These days, most of the social media sites have an option of keeping the profile private or for friends only so that only one’s friends have access to their content. Parents must ensure that their teen’s profile is set to such settings so that no one tries to misuse their content.
- Making sure that they refrain from posting personal stuff – It is important that parents teach their teens to not post any personal information like address, phone numbers, and other relevant data on social media. Such information can be accessed by mischief-mongers and misused easily.
- Confirming that they use a strong password – Parents must teach their teens to not use passwords that have their names or birthdates. They should use strong passwords which should have a mix of alphabets, numbers, and symbols.
- Discouraging them from accepting requests from unknown people – Teens are bubbling with energy and enthusiasm. They do not think twice before taking an action like accepting friend requests from unknown people. Such acceptance of friends requests may prove to be risky. People generally befriend soft-targets and then start stalking them which could put the safety of a teen in jeopardy.
- Keeping an open dialogue with child – It is impossible for a parent to monitor their teen’s social media use 24/7. Therefore, they must encourage their teens to talk about their social media usage and inform them about any requests or messages they receive from strangers. They should also be encouraged to tell their parents if someone is harassing them or bullying them online.
Seeking help for social media addiction
When one starts using social media, they tend to forget the amount of time they spend on it. Excessive use of social media can cause long-term negative outcomes, physically as well as psychologically. It can cause eye problems, appetite changes, sleep disorders, depression, anxiety, and even trauma. If a parent or guardian observes their teen unable to control to urge of posting everything they do on social media or grappling with the psychological symptoms of social media addiction, they must seek professional help at the earliest.
If your teen or a teen you know is struggling with social media addiction, get in touch with ADEONA Healthcare. The leading mental health treatment center for teens aged 12-17, we excel in providing long-lasting social media addiction treatment for teens. We understand that each teen is different and has different requirements. Therefore, we tailor-make all our treatment plans to address not only the addiction, but also the underlying causes. Call our 24/7 mental health helpline (888) 997-3966 to know more about our research-backed mental health treatment programs. You can also chat online to our representative to understand why mental health treatment at ADEONA Healthcare is the best for your teen.