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Hey Friends —
One of the hardest summer challenges for me has been navigating social media — especially with my gang.
As you know, John and I are blessed with 4 kiddos — ages 10, 11, 12 & 20.
Our oldest is in Colorado for the summer, so that leaves a soon-to-be 5th grader, 6th grader, and 7th grader at home.
Most of our daily summer conversations have gone like this, or so it seems —
- “I said, ‘Put your iPpod touches away.'”
- “I don’t care if everyone has an iPhone. No.”
- “No screen time until your chores are done.”
- “If I see your iPod one more time, it’s gone for a week.”
Am I the only one?!
I’ve spent this summer studying, implementing, reworking, praying, talking to other moms, pinning, & praying more. Here’s what I’ve learned so far.
3 Tips for Surviving Social Media with Kids
1. Set Boundaries
If clear boundaries are not set, my kids would text/play mine craft/face time all day long. AHHHH!
Boundaries we’ve set include:
- Time limits (chores first, limited time, etc.)
- No technology in bedrooms
- Phones/iPods go in Mom’s basket when friends come over (have you ever noticed you’ll have 4 kids together and they’ll all be texting each other rather than talking.) Crazy!
- Sign a Social Media Contract. I found a great one here. (You can download it for free.)
- Passwords must be known by a parent at all times, and yes, I will check, read, be in your business, and stalk you on-line. Get used to it. 🙂
2. Stay Involved
As I mentioned, yes, I read their texts, posts, Instagram pictures, etc. (so far only our boys are allowed on Instagram since they are older). I am that mom.
It drives my oldest son Jake crazy — but, yes, I do stalk my children.
I’ve also found it very helpful to discuss social media with other involved moms to learn about apps to stay away from, websites to watch out for, etc.
We’ve also been having a lot of family time to discuss “hot topics” like cyber-bullying, porn, internet crime, and more.
In fact, last night over ice cream we read this book together as a family. Good stuff!
What ways have you found work best to stay involved with what your kids are doing on-line? I’d love to learn from you too!
3. Share Kindness
In our new “selfie generation,” (read this!) I’m trying to survive social media by reminding my gang to use social media for good.
Rather than only playing games and taking selfies, I remind my kids to share kindness through social media. I’m asking,
“Who can you encourage? How can you be helpful to someone today? In what ways can you spread joy?”
And yes, they usually roll their eyes at me — but I’ve also seen them leave some group chats that were headed south quickly.
And remember “The Grandma Rule”: “If you wouldn’t show it, say it, or text it to grandma, don’t post, type, or send it!”
Additionally, I’ve learned I need to model healthy social media skills myself.
I can’t remind my gang of time limits and then text away all day myself. I must also set boundaries and limits — and then stick to them!
For more Social Media Strategies with Kids, check out my Pinterest page here.
Your turn, friends!
How are you navigating the ever-changing world of social media, especially with our children?
Are there apps you’ve found to be helpful — or not so much — with your kids?
Do you set time limits or boundaries? Stalk your kids on-line? I’d love to hear from you!
Thanks so much for stopping by, sweet friend! Have a wonderful, joy-filled weekend!
P.S. My publisher is having a special red-hot contest! Click here for all the details. You could win a red cookware set, plus a copy of the Red Hot Faith Bible Study too. Woo Hoo!
This is a constant struggle! We have similar rules to yours though our kids are 13, 16, and 17. We also forbid cell phone use at dinner, whether home or out. The most recent trend I have seen is postings on social media (Instagram, snap chat) of groups of friends spending time together with captions that are hurtful to those not included, such as,” a great day with my best friends.” We have had many conversations about posting carefully so as not to make anyone feel excluded or hurt. Thanks for a thoughtful post!
We don’t even own the technology that apps are used for or on, so that is out of the picture at this time. Our kids do use Apple products (computers and i-Pads) at school, so they learn what they need to under their teachers’ supervision and with the school district blocks in place.
During the school year, the computer is used on school days only for homework. Pre-approved games have been permitted on weekends only and for limited time, but only during the last six months. Prior to that there was no use at all outside of homework.
Time limits have lightened up a bit over the summer, but even then, I believe my kids use technology far less than most kids do. My soon-to-be eighth grade daughter has started publishing a science blog this summer. Her name is not attached to it (not sure when we will permit that). She spends time each week researching a topic of interest, and then writes a page for the purpose of education with some light humor attached for entertainment. Can you tell how proud I am of her?
My oldest daughter is 23, but I had access to her passwords and stalked her online until she was 21. Now she is a mom and full-time student, so she’s dropped her social media altogether. She said that it’s a time waster. Guess she’s growing up! She lives about 35 miles from me, and we connect via email or phone at least a few times a week when we can’t visit in person.
The advantage that I have found personally with social media (I’m a Facebooker) is that I can stay connected to family and friends across the country that would otherwise be very difficult to talk to on any regular basis. I also find that it’s a way to encourage others. Friends send me prayer requests, and I often write out my prayers for them. It’s also a way to share my faith with others. 🙂 Have I ever posted things that I later regret? On occasion, yes. I pray that I will be ever increasingly sensitive to the Holy Spirit and use this method of communication in a way that brings glory to God.