Today we’re interviewing Hanna Huguet and her mother Tammy to discuss when students should get a cell phone, how social media can have a positive impact on teens, and tips for creating an ongoing healthy social media dialog with your kids.
Listen along on our podcast
- If your child enjoys communicating with you over email or text, use that connection to build a relationship with them.
- Be careful when posting online. Take a moment to think about your intentions before you post something on social media.
- Students might not be aware that everything the post online and on social media has the potential to affect their future.
What do you do?
I’ve been working on dancing and acting. I’m in school. I’m graduating this year. Social media has been a big part of my life. –Hanna Huguet, High School Student
I have a small business that I started spearheading more as Hanna got a little bit older. We used social media in our home in multi faceted ways through business and getting in touch with other kids. –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner
When is the right age for a student to have their own cell phone?
Fourteen. It’s a great time because you’re in Grade 8 and past middle school age. At this age, you are aware of what is going on online and what is around you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the social norms of social media. At this age, you’re still trying to find out who are you and then social media has its own perception of who you are. If you wait awhile you’re able to really go online but be strong in who you are. –Hanna Huguet, High School Student
Realistically kids are wanting that stuff a lot younger than that. Let’s find a way to approach that in a positive way and be realistic. As long as we set up the right boundaries, the age that we choose for our family to start using social media and that’s going to be different for everybody. –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner
What would you say to the parents who have an eight-year-old that is really dying for a phone?
I think phones are good for games but when it comes to social media that’s a whole other game. It’s so dangerous online. There are sides to social media games that people don’t know. A lot of average people don’t know, parents don’t know. If that child wants a phone, use it for games and messaging their parents. For social media, if they want to have an account their parents should handle it. It’s best if a parent oversees what goes on that phone. –Hanna Huguet, High School Student
Stepping back on being realistic. You need to ask your child why they want a phone. Ask them to write you a story and tell you why they want a phone. What are they willing to contribute to have the responsibility of owning a dynamic of a tool as a cell phone. Let’s be open and honest. Let’s set some boundaries that can keep cell phones a safe and positive tool for you. –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner
Since she is a business owner, I taught her to make an Instagram business profile. She’s able to have insights, gain more followers, have more faces out there. Putting herself in the world that she’s part of in terms of a triathlon: Her business is personal training and being a coach. Putting herself in a crowd to gain a positive reputation. My goal for her is when she joins triathlon that people will recognize her and make her account stand out. –Hanna Huguet, High School Student
As a parent, I discover that she’s talking the language I don’t understand. I want to know what my kids know, I want to know her language. I remember back when the internet first became more widespread and my oldest daughter was in youth group. The leaders that would talk to us like “Hey if your kid wants to communicate with you with an email send them back an email. Meet them where they’re at, build that relationship with them, respect what they are learning”. I want Hannah to know that I respect what she knows and how she sees things. –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner
What is a video that we should make for students that’s a good topic for them to learn from an outside trusted source?
Openness. If you have observed that there is a mutual connection between Hannah and me, that hasn’t always been that way. There were frustrating times where I felt there is too much secrecy going on and that’s when we can get scared and when we get scared we react. –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner
As a student, you can be very unaware of what people are seeing online. You do not realize that once you post something anybody could see it. You don’t realize that what you’re posting will go on in the future. –Hanna Huguet, High School Student
Kids now are being fearless online, not knowing everything and not understanding consequences. They are at an age whether we like it or not, brains develop in phases and there is not always a big picture or long term understanding of consequences. Whereas we’re trying to reason with them to help them understand that the consequences are real. One bad choice can leave either an emotional or physical scar for the rest of your life. That is such a big picture, they have a hard time seeing that. –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner
If you go and want to experience social media, be careful. Be careful because you are so young and if you do something at 14 you don’t want it to screw up your future when you’re 17 or 20 Those things will last a long time and they don’t just go away. Social media never just goes away. Be careful where you’re posting and what you’re posting and what are your intentions are when you post. Is it to hurt someone? Is it to hurt yourself? Or is it to gain attention? –Hanna Huguet, High School Student
Think about your long-term reputation and how important it is for you. What reputation do you want to have? –Tammy Huguet, Mother and Small Business Owner