You’ve heard it before, but “Knowledge is power.” The writer of Proverbs knew this:
“An intelligent heart acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (18:15)
Social media, just like technology, changes at the speed of light. Next month there will be a whole new app or service on the scene that appeals to your child more than the last. And you need to seek out that knowledge and educate yourself.
Things you need to know…
1. You are the product, not the customer. These services bill themselves as services to you, the customer, but in actual fact, you’re really the product. How do these companies make billions of dollars? Every time you click, like, retweet, or post something, they make money. They sell your data to advertisers and make billions. Taking this perspective will help you every time you want to share something. These companies (Apple, Google, Facebook, TikTok, Twitter, etc.) do not care about you or your child’s well-being. All they care about is their bottom line!
2. Know your child’s account username and password for any and all accounts. You should have unlimited access to their accounts at any time, and they should *know* that you have unlimited access to their accounts at any time. Studies have shown that kids who know their parents are watching them are less likely to seek out trouble on social media.
3. Your child will naturally gravitate towards what is popular with their friends and what you’re NOT using. Did you ever want to hang out where your parents were when you were a teen? No, you didn’t. You’d hang out in the grocery store parking lot if it meant your parents weren’t there. Kids are doing the same thing digitally today. They all migrate away from posting on Facebook to the newest app their friends are using.
4. Be where your children are. Simply put – if your children are on Facebook, then you should be on Facebook. If your children are on Twitter, then even if you don’t know what it is, you should be on Twitter. You are the parent, you make the rules. If they cannot abide by them, then they don’t get on that particular site. If they don’t want you following or friending them on that particular social network, then they don’t have the privilege to use that social network. You should also have a limit in place so that the amount of logins for these apps and networks don’t get out of control.
Your children will not be happy with new rules, but they will be better protected and have a better experience in the digital world because you made the effort to stay on top of their digital development.
Seek out the knowledge that’s required to keep your kids safe on their devices.
- Chad Landman