You wouldn’t hand your teen the keys to your car without first teaching them to drive… right? Giving them unsupervised access to the internet, without establishing rules and setting boundaries could be just as scary. One great way to trigger discussions about internet safety is to have everyone in your family sign a smartphone and social media agreement.
A smartphone and social media agreement can serve as an icebreaker for parents to cover key safety issues like screen time limits, sexting, cyberbullying, and more. It gives kids a glance at their own responsibilities as internet users and reminds them that using social media in a negative way comes with consequences.
Keys to Creating a Social Media Agreement
Child Psychologist Dr. Adam Pettler tells Smart Social there are 5 keys to creating a smartphone and social media contract for your family:
- Set family expectations for all devices
- Create guidelines about where & when the device can be used
- Encourage your child to stop and think before they post
- Require permission to download new apps
- Teach that respectful behavior earns more online privileges
Help Your Students Understand Why an Agreement is Important
It’s important for your kids to understand why you are establishing these guidelines. Smart Social Founder Josh Ochs created a course for students to see some real life consequences of making mistakes on social media. It’s designed to encourage students to be more aware of their behavior online.
Some experts warn excessive screen time and social media use can lead to:
- social anxiety
- even suicide
A smartphone and social media agreement can help families create healthy internet habits as soon as a new device is introduced into the home. The start of a new year is also a great time to introduce an agreement to get parents and students on the same page. Remember to revisit and revise the agreement, as needed, throughout the year.
Keep the Agreement Visible at Home
After kids and parents sign a smartphone and social media agreement, make sure to keep it somewhere visible, like on the fridge or hanging in their bedroom. Regularly referring back to the agreement will remind students of the commitments they made and the consequences they could face.
Smart Social has created a Smartphone and Social Media Agreement for families. If you need help talking with your tweens or teens about internet safety and the importance of signing a smartphone and social media agreement, register for Josh’s course below: