The Talk We Need to Have About Social Media With Our Teens

My daughter sat at our island last Saturday night with her best friend. They were snapping pictures of each other, using every Snapchat filter available, and posting them to their “stories.”

What parents need to tell their kids about social media

When I heard her friend say, “Hey! I don’t like that picture of me!”
I looked over my daughter’s shoulder and asked her if she had posted the picture anyway.

She told me she had, and they were both laughing and her friend assured me it really was OK and she didn’t really care, but I cared. A lot.

This whole “growing up with technology” business is new to us Gen-X parents. We didn’t have it during our teen years, and our kids seem to know more about it than we do, I find myself in unknown territory more often than not. My kids introduced me to Snapchat and I never would have known about them otherwise. Nor would I have paid attention. But I have three tweens, and believe you me, I am paying attention.

I am always left asking the same question: what is the etiquette? What is pushing a limit and what acceptable? Of course my idea of what’s acceptable is different than my kids, and I have also discovered different than some other parents, too.

The one thing that has always worked for me is I have decided it doesn’t really matter what everyone else is doing, if I am uncomfortable with something my kids are doing or saying on line, that is enough for me to put a stop to that behavior.

And taking pictures of people, friends and strangers alike, and posting them online without permission will never be all right with me.

It is an invasion of privacy, it is rude, and honestly, I find it down right mean. I always ask my own kids if they mind me posting pictures of them online, I would never think of throwing a post on Facebook or Instagram of my friends without the permission. And I certainly don’t want it done to me.

So I had yet another talk with my kids about how we act on social media, and just because their friends do something like post pictures without asking, doesn’t make it right for them. And they NEED to speak up if someone does put their pictures on the Internet and they don’t like it. Just because their peers don’t care if it’s done to them, doesn’t mean they should not voice their opinion on the subject if they are uncomfortable.

It is OK to go against the grain once in a while and not let what other’s do dilute how you truly feel about something.

Some days I wonder if I am ever going to catch up and be on top of all the things my teens are exposed to. But as their mother, I believe it is my job to do everything in my power to try.
I will snoop, I will be nosey, and I will certainly stop a fun Saturday night to step on my soap box and give a lecture, I don’t care if we have friends over or not.

About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

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