Reflection: Social Media and Your Teen
A couple of weeks ago over 40 parents attended our Social Media Workshop and we are very pleased with the response. There are many benefits to social media for young people such as social connections, emotional support, development of self-identity and awareness to current events. However, the fact that many parents came may be a sign that parents have concerns about their teens using social media.
At the workshop we shared the results of a survey we gave high school students as we wanted to know what apps they use and what they think the advantages and risks of using these sites may be. We know now that the most used apps are Instagram, Line, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Facebook.
A main concern is that many students are unaware of how much time they spend on social media sites. Besides the amount of time, they brought up other concerns such as getting hacked, being misunderstood or bullied, witnessing harassment and having rumours spread. Also they tend to link the number of likes on their posts to popularity which may affect their self-esteem.
We had a discussion about what parents can do. Obviously every family will have different opinions and values, so it is difficult to come up with a cookie cutter answer. What we suggest is that parents have open communication with their teens so that they feel safe to talk to them. This is done by being available, actively listening and having empathy rather than giving advice or panicking. Additionally it is very important for parents to have guidelines as to their own use of social media and that of their teens. Even though it may not always look like it, teens observe their parents, so we adults need to monitor our own behaviours. Along with setting guidelines teens need regular conversations and reminders about why they need to be cautious, what is appropriate or not, what they would do if they were upset or victimised or saw someone else being victimised. They also need to be made aware of their future and encouraged to leave a positive digital footprint. It is very advisable to check privacy settings for each app regularly and to monitor teens' usage of social media without being too intrusive.
In the survey students indicated that they speak to a parent, a family member or a friend when they encounter a problem. If this is the case and your teen has talked to you, please encourage him/her to come and speak to one of the counsellors. You are also welcome to come and share your concerns with us.
Here are some additional links to useful websites:
We hope that you will find this information helpful, and once again, if you have any concerns or questions, don't hesitate to email one of the counsellors.
Why won’t my child communicate with me
On the 8th of December (PLEASE NOTE THE NEW DATE) at 8:15 in the High School we will have a workshop on effective communication with teens held at the Examination Hall on the 7th floor of the Blue Building (High School). This workshop is for parents of students in Year 5 and beyond. We will include some situations relating to social media in our discussions. Mark the date in your calendars.