Tips for parents: Raising the digital generation
Study: 8 of 10 online kids use social media
Last Updated: 95 days ago
INDIANAPOLIS - Technology has changed the way families communicate and that opens up real concerns for parents trying to manage a brave new world of teens and social media.
A report released in May by Pew Internet said 95 percent of kids ages 12 to 17 use the internet, and eight in 10 online teens use some kind of social media as often as 10 times a day.
Clayton Gaines, 15, is a normal teenager who enjoys racing midget cars, and of course, social media sites like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook – which all have millions of preteen and teenage users.
"Sometimes I'm on it a lot and I have to get work done around the house," Gaines said.
Clayton admits he sometimes uses social media too much, which concerns his grandfather.
"I get on it and I know what he's on and what he's done on it. I get on his phone and see what he's done on his phone and who he's talked to. So you do have to watch and monitor, I think," Ed Gaines said.
Parents and grandparents are the ones raising the digital generation, and while that comes with benefits, there can be serious risks to all the online sharing.
According to social media expert Steven Shattuck with Bloomerang, kids are connecting largely through smart phones.
"It's almost impossible for a parent to monitor 24/7, especially with mobile usage. So it's more important that parents explain this is how you should use it. These are the dangers. These are the things you should look out for and trust them a little bit," Shattuck said.
Experts said that bullying is still the number one issue on social media, and that's where parents really need to get involved, not by just monitoring their kids’ accounts, but by talking to them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends creating social media ground rules: Monitor the pictures your child puts online. Limit cell phone use and teach kids how an online reputation could affect college entrance and even jobs prospects years from now.
Experts said parents should talk to their children about online dangers.
For teens like Clayton, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook can make a big world a lot smaller, but with that comes a big responsibility placed on parents to ensure that world is safe.
Nobody under the age of 13 is allowed to join Facebook, but there is no effective way to enforce the rule since kids can lie about their age.
Parents should make sure they have access to their children’s accounts because kids might make their accounts private to lock out parents.
Finally, nobody said it is a child’s right to use social media, parents can always just say no.
Follow Chris Proffitt on Twitter: @chrisproffitt
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