Over the last five years, social media has changed quite a bit. While this article was published on August 6th, 2014, it still remains relevant today in December 2019. If you what to find out what your child is doing on Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok and other social media apps, you can find out here.
A major concern of all parents is the inappropriate acts of a child on the Internet or on social media. Time and again parents will ask me what their children are doing on websites or apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Ask.fm, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Tinder, Hinge and other popular social networks. Unfortunately, parents do not have the time to research all the new social networks that are popular in elementary, middle and high schools. That said, I can be a great resource that connects parents with their children in terms of social media use.
My job necessitates I understand all of the new social networks that are quickly growing. I have a firm grasp on how the younger generation is using Snapchat, Instagram private and Ask.fm to “get in touch” with the opposite sex. Boyfriends and girlfriends are trying to hide what they are doing from their parents but what they do not realize is they are leaving a digital footprint online for the world to see. This is extremely dangerous on many levels. If you are concerned about the actions of your child’s internet or social media behavior do not hesitate to reach out to me at email@example.com. I can consult parents which will serve as an educational step that is necessary to relate to the younger generation.
How Are Kids Using Social Media?
When Facebook was first released to college students throughout the United States I was well aware of what users were going to do on this social network. They were going to find a way to meet members of the opposite sex and start dating. Ten years later and we all have a “Facebook story” as it relates to dating, marriage concerns or even high schoolers wanting to travel across country to meet someone they met online.
We won’t even begin to get into the psychology of social media and how user behavior adjusts when someone has the filter of a computer screen. What I will warn parents is that children are working diligently to access their friends and potential significant others through apps on their iPhone, iPad, Android phone or any type of tablet. Even if parents set the parental controls there are still ways to get around it on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and almost all social networks.
I would love to say that children were using social media to educate themselves and improve their lives but that is often not the case. In fact, it is usually the opposite. Time and again I see children bounce from one social network to another just to avoid mom and dad or grandpa and grandma. There is a reason there has been a mass exodus from Facebook with the younger crowd. They saw that mom and dad were watching so they immediately went to Instagram. When mom and dad get on Instagram they will likely flock to Snapchat or the next social network that becomes popular.
How Can You Prevent Your Child From Using Snapchat?
This is going to be extremely difficult. Even if you check their smartphone or tablet every day they can go right behind you and download the Snapchat app. The idea of Snapchat is the photos disappear. For much more on Snapchat read this resource: How Snapchat Has Changed Communication. One of the best things a parent can do is lead by example. This means you should NOT be sending your children Snaps. You should not communicate with your husband, wife, boyfriend of girlfriend with Snapchat. This is not going to be healthy for any relationship. Trust me.
The same holds true for Instagram. Instagram is the social network for all the kids these days. They have realized this to be true so they have set their account to be private so mom and dad cannot see what they are doing. That is why it might be best to contact me so I can “befriend” them on Instagram and share some of the screenshots of the photos they are sharing with their friends. You may be shocked at some of the photos teenagers are uploading to the Internet. What is even more unsettling is their lack of concern for future repercussions.
Just today I was talking to a small business owner that said he looks at the social footprint of all the applicants before he makes a hiring decision. He does not necessarily tell the applicants they were not hired for a poor online profile, but it definitely comes into play. If you want your children to grow up to be successful it would be a very wise choice to address the issues related to social media now. Do not let it get out of control as it can be an avalanche that is nearly impossible to stop once it gets started.
What Should You Do?
The first thing you should do is talk with your children, listen to your children and consume their behavior. Actions speak louder than words. If you see your children making funny faces in front of their phone every 30 seconds you can be rest assured they are using Snapchat. If they are holding their phone out in front of them to take a photo of their dress, miniskirt or muscle tshirt they are definitely on Instagram. There are many signs to point toward social media use.