Kids, summer and social media
This summer there are many social media apps and conversations going on in your children’s cell phones and devices keeping the kids preoccupied and parents wondering what they are doing and to whom are they talking?
Whether they are playing video games, texting a good friend about going to the pool later or they are heavily involved in a large group message about who knows what, all a parent can see is that the kid is glued to their phone. While this may seem innocent enough, the potential for mischief is there, and even more prevalent when kids are out of school for the summer and have too much time on their hands.
Do you know what social media apps your kids are using?
Most parents with children old enough to have a phone or device understand that kids use different social media than their parents, on purpose. While many teenagers have a Facebook account, they only post things there for parents and the more adult crowd. Among peers, kids are using everything from Twitter to Snapchat and Instagram, as well as many more social media apps to which you have never been introduced.
The engineers who design social media apps for teens must understand a child’s concern for privacy from spying eyes when the images on the app button on the phone looks like something other than a social media app. For example, there is an app that looks like a calculator and is actually an image storage app. Maybe the thought is that if mom or dad is looking into their kid’s phone, they will not bother to check the calculator app to see if it adds and subtracts correctly.
Find your son or daughter’s username/handle/screen name
The key is finding your son or daughter’s creative username. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, where most people use their real names in their profile, in many of the other social media apps like Instagram, the user makes up their own unique profile name, like a personalized handle they will use on all the other sites. Most people, younger and older use the same personalized screenname so because their peers will recognize them on a variety of social media apps.
Monitoring your kids’ usernames and social media profiles this summer
Once you find your child on Instagram, for example, and make a note of their username, you can then create your own profile on different apps to monitor your kid and figure out what they are up to on their phones all day this summer while they otherwise might be playing sports and other activities.
Most parents pause to consider whether they are breaching the parent-child trust by spying on their kids, but those concerns are quickly alleviated by concerns about bullying and all the other awful segments of humanity to which children can be exposed online and on their social media apps.
During summer break kids have lots of time on their hands and as parents it makes sense to not only pay attention to how much time they are in their phones all summer, but to also monitor their activity the best you can.
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