Your teen wants to assert their independence, they want to explore the world they live in, and they want to socialize with their friends. Social media seems like the perfect platform for this, a place where they can start to define their identity and reach an audience of their peers and family members. As a parent, however, it may be hard to let them stretch their wings. Teens feel ready for more independence, but parents still remember them as the baby, toddler, and child they so recently were. As well, it’s easy for parents to remember the pain and pitfalls of our own teenage years and want to protect their children just a little longer. In order to give teens their freedom while assuaging your own concerns, it is vital that you talk to your children about their safety and what steps you’ll be taking to keep them safe. How parents monitor Snapchat, Instagram, and other social media platforms matters.
But Why Does it Matter?
It can be tricky trying to find a balance between hovering over your kid, and trusting them to make the right choices, but it is important that you and your child find a balance. Looking back at your own childhood might not provide a good model for that balance, either. When we were younger, danger existed, and many of us did dangerous and stupid things, but often, our parents were more comfortable with the possibilities. They knew what sort of trouble we could get up to, because it was the same trouble they got up to at our age. And while some GenXers and Millennials grew up with hyper-vigilant parents, for the most part, our parents trusted us to go out with our friends and come home by curfew, without too much thought to what we were getting up to while we were out of the house.
According to a recent study, children today are better behaved than the previous generations, but surprisingly, anxiety levels among parents have risen dramatically. The study went on to point out that technology plays a big role in this; when we were younger, our parents were a bit more hard-pressed to follow our every move, where as in the digital age, parents can follow their child’s every online, or even physical, move.
There is a downside to this access to surveillance. When we are constantly monitoring our children and their social media usage, we begin to send the signal that we don’t have faith in them to do the right thing. Building trust between you and your children impacts how they see themselves, their relationship with you, and helps them develop the skills and belief in themselves needed to make the right choices in life.
When it comes to how to protect your child on Snapchat, TikTok, or other popular platforms, many parents aren’t sure where to start. The best way to begin is to allow them their own space and privacy to make their own choices, while keeping a light touch and view of their interactions. It can be challenging to trust your teen, but there are ways to do that while still monitoring their social applications, texts, and emails. One way to do that would be to install a parental monitoring app, such as Jiminy. Unlike other parenting apps that are invasive, only Jiminy allows you to monitor your child’s social interactions, while still giving them their privacy.
How Do You Build Trust While Still Protecting Your Kids?
Snapchat, Instagram, and other online social platforms provide a great outlet for expression, connections with peers, and a chance to explore the world around them. It is important to note that most social media platforms require their users to be at least 13 years of age or older, but that doesn’t mean that kids can’t or won’t find ways around those settings. Research in the UK discovered that 51% of the 12 year old children surveyed had already created online social media accounts, whereas 46% of 11 year olds and 28% of 10 year olds had all created accounts as well.
That being the case, you may be wondering how can parents monitor Snapchat and Instagram if they don’t even know if their kids have set up accounts on these platforms? The first step is to talk to your kids early, teach them the proper uses of social media, and what all they should be on the lookout for. Make it clear that your kids can come to you about any issues they encounter online (such as bullies, or people asking for personal information they don’t want to share). If you develop good lines of communication early, and use a non-invasive app to track what platforms they’re using, you should be able to maintain your child’s trust and safety all at once.
It is important that your kids know that you trust them and that they can trust you in turn. This will not only improve your relationship with them, but also build their confidence to make the right decisions. How parents monitor Snapchat matters. Using Jiminy’s non-invasive app not only shows your faith in your children, but will also help you sleep at night.