About our guest blogger: Anne Livingston is a Digital Parenting Expert for Familoop, a Parental Control Software that helps parents monitor kids’ activities on any devices, and succeed in parenting. You can find her on the front lines of the battle to raise thoughtful digital citizens in a high-tech world. Learn more about Guest Blogging for SafeSmartSocial.com
The first 3 things you should do when your child makes social media mistakes
When parents worry about kids making mistakes online, they usually focus on sexting and stranger danger. While it is important to talk to kids about these headline grabbing issues, they can overshadow what kids are really dealing with every day. After school, they are hanging out with their friends and classmates in Facebook Groups or on Instagram. It is during these day-to-day social networking interactions when kids are most often running into trouble.
Communication happens fast online. It is so easy to quickly post or respond to someone without really thinking it through.
Pew Internet Study shows that 68% of teen social media users experienced drama among their friends on social media.
According to the Pew Internet Study on Teens and Friendship, 68% of teen social media users experienced drama among their friends on social media and 26% had a conflict with a friend over something that happened online or over text messages. With kids as young as 4th or 5th grade on Instagram, kids of any age may find themselves in a situation they do not have the social skills to handle.
Once a child posts a mean or thoughtless comment
Missteps are not the end of the world, but an opportunity to learn.
Bear in mind that everyone can see it. Suddenly, classmates are chiming in and commenting on it or liking it. One hasty message can lead to a heated exchange where it feels like the entire school or other social community is weighing in. It can happen so quickly, a child may not know what to do or if they can do anything.
Everyone makes mistakes. Missteps are not the end of the world, but an opportunity to learn. Even in the digital world, kids should never feel a mistake is too big to rectify. Correcting a mistake online is not so different from correcting a mistake offline. The sooner they deal with it, the easier it will be to fix.
3 Tips for Turning a Mistake into an Opportunity
- Ask Questions
- Discuss Concerns
- Make Amends
With mistakes online, kids are often having problems not only on Instagram but also in the school hallways.
When my children come to me with a problem, I find it hard not jump in to fix it mode. Parents should take a breath and let their child share what happened. Especially with social media mistakes, kids are often having problems not only on Instagram but also in the school hallways. Besides discussing the post, text, or picture, talk to them about what is going on between them and their classmate. Reassure them that you are glad they came to you and by working together you can find a solution.
A thoughtless picture or post can become part of child’s digital record or profile.
These early mistakes are a chance to teach kids about sharing online. As they grow, they will be spending more time online with friends and classmates. Digital conversations happen quickly and can spread widely. Unfortunately, a thoughtless picture or post can become part of child’s digital record or profile. Families should take time to discuss why kids need to be extra careful about what they share on social media and in text messages. Remind them if they would not say it to a person’s face, it should not be online.
Even in the digital age, the best way to heal a friendship is often apologizing face to face.
Parents can work behind the scenes to help their child deal with the mistake both online and offline. As soon as possible, they should delete the inappropriate comment or picture. While someone may still have taken a screenshot, removing the original will reduce its visibility and lessen its impact. After deleting, parents should discuss with their child how to tell their friend or classmate they are sorry. Even in the digital age, the best way to heal a friendship is often apologizing face to face.
Parents can catch mistakes early by participating with their child on social media or reviewing their activities.
Going forward, families should work together to draft a phone or device contract that outlines the appropriate use of technology. Building a contract together is a fantastic way for parents to check in and kick start a conversation. Parents can also help catch mistakes early by participating with their child on social media or reviewing their activities. By talking with kids about what they should post, what they should not post and why, parents can teach kids how to use social media to build and enhance friendships.
Do you have tips for dealing with a social misstep online? Let us know what you found that worked and what did not work.