Home > Parenting, Social media > Parents Need to Get Their Hands Dirty With Social Media

Parents Need to Get Their Hands Dirty With Social Media

When I visit my family each summer, I watch my nieces and nephews text each other furiously. Their fingers are working overtime to host constant communication. I asked if their professors had any trouble with this during lectures, and my niece replied that they all have their phones on silent, but can still easily text without looking at them.

So while a professor may see a sea of attentive faces, quite likely they are deep in thought texting.

Tcchnology has changed the way our children communicate. How you feel about this personally is irrelevant. Texting, skyping, and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are only gaining in popularity and children are finding ways of adapting them earlier.

Your mission as a parent, if you choose to accept it, is to become versed in social media before your child has to teach it to you.

There are two reasons for this:  If they are on Facebook or another social networking site, you can (attempt, at any rate) to be on their contact list, or ‘friend’, and therefore watch what they are doing more closely.

Being knowledgeble yourself in social media is to take away another layer of potential misunderstanding between you and your children. You are bridging a gap. If you are using social media effectively, your children are more likely to see you as an ally when they most need one.

Cyber-bullying is a nasty consequence of the proliferation of online communication. It’s easier than ever to be mean behind the cloak of anonymity. The rash of suicides amongst teenagers citing online bullying as the cause is rapidly increasing. As governments and teachers rush to react with preventative policies, teenagers will continue to circulate hurtful lists on their smartphones with a vengeance. They will start nasty Facebook campaigns and they will tweet nasty comments. Cyber-bullying won’t disappear, so arm yourself and your child against it.

Yet I know a lot of parents who know nothing about social media. They view it as a waste of time. They can’t get their head around it. They prefer traditional methods of communication. Knowledge is powerful, and learning this strange new world of interacting and socializing is to learn the language of our children.

Adapting the attitude that social media is child’s play will only keep you out of the conversation.

  1. April 11, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Great post! One that all adults need to read. We need to keep up with the kids in communicating, b/c they are going to be our leaders at much younger ages and if we want to know what they are up to, we need to be able to speak their language. I tweeted it and am going to share on FB too! Have a great week!

    • April 11, 2011 at 2:45 pm

      Thanks so much, I’m glad you liked it.

  2. April 11, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    Brilliant post, Deanna! So, so true. However, as a former college instructor, I can guarantee that professors can tell when students are texting–as least I could. Happy Monday to you, my friend!

  3. April 11, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I totally agree, Deanna…as the parents of four “plugged-in” teenagers, we monitor their interactions pretty closely!


  4. April 12, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    Great post! You wouldn’t let your kid have 20 strangers over for a slumber party, so why would you give them free reign to communicate with a WORLD of strangers on the internet?

  5. April 24, 2011 at 7:02 am

    Cool post, Deanna. Thanks for sharing and showing that I am not the only one who is concerned towards the issue of cyber bullying. You have a point that we as adults can not only choose to be well-versed with technology and social media but also we can educate kids about safe and responsible use of cyber space.

    • April 25, 2011 at 5:19 pm

      Cyber-bullying seems to instensify both the bullier and the consequences, and is clearly something that needs much attention paid to it. Thanks.

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