Have you been frightened by what you’ve found on your child’s device?
You’re not alone.
Most parents struggle to find the appropriate boundaries around their child’s phone or tablet.
Ultimately, only you know what is best for your family, but I will share my suggestions based on research and stories I’ve heard over the years.
First, use real potential consequences to discuss the dangers of social media. When you hear a story on the news, share it with your teen in an open discussion. Show them the lasting effects of misusing social media. This has a greater impact than simply lecturing or advice giving.
Second, present any device as a privilege. As Lisa Damour suggests in her book Untangled, it is wise to tell your child up front that you will occasionally look at your child’s device without warning. This could mean physically having the phone to look through or using an app that allows you to access the contents of their device from yours.
Explain to them that it is not out of a lack of trust, but as a form of protection. They can use this as an excuse to anyone sending them inappropriate messages or requestions. Often kids themselves are scared of the situations they get themselves into and wish they had an out as easy as, “My crazy mom checks my phone all the time so I can’t send you a picture.” As time goes on, you can check the phone less frequently depending on your trust and comfort level.
This strategy also eliminates the idea of “spying.” Many parents get worried, decide to look at their child’s phone without them knowing, and then feel that they’ve violated their child’s privacy. Of course you will look through the phone if you are concerned about safety, so set the standard right away. It is always a possibility you could see what’s on there.
If your teen has gotten into drama through their device or social media, I can help them sort through it and start fresh. Sign up for a 30 minute parent consultation to discuss your child’s needs.