A few days ago, my 13-year-old daughter asked me if she can open an Instagram account for herself. I wasn’t surprised by her request because all her friends have a social media profile barring her. Honestly, I wasn’t too comfortable with her being on social media. The dangers of social media for children are many as all your parents are aware.
When my daughter insisted again, I gave in hesitantly. Here is how I did it.
Find Out the Reason for Having Social Media Profile
My daughter wanted to use her social media handle to post her drawings and art and follow her friends. I made her promise that she will not share her photos or any personal information other than her drawings.
So, talk to your child about why they want to set up a social media account. If they want to become an influencer or pursue a career in social media, find out what and how they intend to do it.
Open an Add-On Account Under the Parent Profile
Instagram, Facebook and other social platforms allow you to add and switch between multiple accounts under an existing account. I opened my daughter’s account under my existing profile on my phone. This way, she needs my phone to access her social media. Moreover, I can monitor her social media activities – what she and her friends are posting, whom she is following, etc.
Sensitise About Cyber Security
Though my daughter is aware of cyberbullying, online sexual harassment, malware downloads, social media trolling, etc. However, I still ran these risks by her once again to make sure she takes adequate safety precautions when she is online. I also cautioned her against participating in social media contests or giveaways without my permission.
Set the Time Limit
I allow my daughter to access her social media profile once a day for 15 minutes. Also, I don’t let her handle the phone in privacy – she has to be in the same room as me. This makes sure that she doesn’t watch any inappropriate content.
Look Out for Oddities in Behaviour
Social media can create issues such as Fear of Missing Out (FOMO), inferiority complex, etc in your children. They may feel that they are not updated about the latest trends in life or somebody’s life is better than theirs. These feelings may reflect in the form of anxiety, anger, frustration, depression or poor sleep pattern. If your child shows any of these signs, find out if social media is the culprit.
I hope these tips have been useful for you. How have you handled your child’s request to be on social media?