You wouldn’t hand your teen the keys to your car without first teaching them to drive… right? Giving students unsupervised access to the internet, without establishing rules and setting boundaries could be just as scary as unsupervised driving. One great way to trigger discussions about internet safety is to create 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 students 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 shared that there are five keys to creating a smartphone and social media contract for your family:
- Set family expectations for all devices
- Create guidelines about where and when the device can be used
- Encourage students to think before they post
- Require permission to download new apps
- Teach that respectful behavior earns more online privileges
Help your students understand why a social media agreement is important
It is important for your students to understand why you are establishing these guidelines. Some experts warn excessive screen time and social media use can lead to:
- Social anxiety
A smartphone and social media agreement can help families create healthy internet habits. For example, as soon as a new device is introduced into the home you can create an agreement. Additionally, the start of a new school year is a great time to introduce an agreement to the whole family on the same page. Remember to revisit and revise the agreement, as needed, throughout the year.
Keep the social media agreement visible at home
After your students (and parents) sign your agreement, make sure to keep it somewhere visible, like on the fridge or hanging in their bedroom. As a result, everyone in the family will be able to regularly refer back to the agreement. Then, they will remember the commitments they made and the consequences they could face.
Become a VIP (Very Informed Parent)
If you need help talking with your tweens or teens about internet safety and the importance of signing an agreement, register for the SmartSocial VIP (Very Informed Parent) Membership. You will then be able to take the on-demand Smartphone and Social Media Agreement workshop.