Should I friend or follow my teen on social media?
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Yes. But keep a low profile.
Along with monitoring their child’s social media profile in a general sense, many parents take the additional step of actually friending or following their teen on Facebook, Twitter or other social media platforms. Half of parents know the password to their teen’s email account, while one-in-three parents are privy to their teen’s social media passwords.
Overall, 44% of all parents indicate that they are Facebook friends with their teen. In addition to Facebook, 9% of parents indicate that they follow their child on Twitter, while 17% indicate that they follow their child on some other social networking site. In total, some 56% of parents indicate that they are friends with their teen on Facebook, Twitter and/or some other social media platform. Go ahead and befriend them. Follow them.
Just don’t comment on or “like” all of their posts; remain in the background(!)
Liking your kids’ posts is equivalent to giving them a big hug and kiss in front of their friends. You really don’t want to do that. Your goal is to stay informed about what’s going on, not to become one of them. There’s no need to participate publicly.
No matter which apps and sites you allow your tween/teen to use, the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) suggests these general rules:
• Require your teen to give you all user names and passwords.
• Join every social media site your teen does and at least learn the basics of using it.
• Follow your teen on each app/site to monitor their activity, and let them know you’ll be doing so.
• Ask your teen if their account is private. Discuss with them why you think it’s important to keep their accounts private. Keep up with privacy settings on their social media apps . If you need some help be sure to check out FOSI’s video on how to set privacy settings.
• Also, set a good example for your teen. Only allow people you know to follow you.
Source: the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), https://www.fosi.org/ (link is external)