Did you know social media is just as important as breathing for most teenage girls? It’s true! Girls are relationally wired. Relationships with their peers are one of the most important things to them. Social media has opened wide new avenues for teen girls to “relate” or communicate with each other.
Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram are the most widely used social media sites. Unfortunately, teenagers are not emotionally mature and so many lack the communication skills necessary to use these social media sites responsibly. This is why girl bullying is quickly becoming an epidemic. These sites are not only used as part of their everyday life to exist, they are also used in their everyday life to inflict damage.
In a report from Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that reviews movies and games for parents. The survey of 1,030 13- to 17-year-olds, found that nearly 90 percent have used some form of social media and 75 percent currently have a personal social networking website. The study also found that girls are more plugged in than their male counterparts: 77 percent of them text daily, 33 percent have used Twitter, and 75 percent love posting photographs online, while just 60 percent of boys text that often, 22 percent have ever used Twitter, and 42 percent say they enjoy putting up pictures. What’s noteworthy is that the gender difference comes at an emotional price: About half the girls polled admitted that content posted online often makes them worry about their appearance or social status. Just a quarter of the boys said the same.
What can you do? Here are a few ways you can help your teenage daughter.
1. Establish a Family Rules for Social Media. Discuss the rules and have them sign a contract. (See Parent tab for sample)
2. Do not let them sleep with their phones in their rooms. Protect them from themselves. Night time is a dangerous time to have a phone. Anonymous polling of teenage girls has shown 83% admit to using social media after they have gone to bed. Some of the worst social media bullying incidents occur at night when they have had their phones in their rooms. One popular example is Girls are taking inappropriate pictures of themselves at night and end up be circulated throughout boys circles. A new disturbing trend says girls are performing sexual acts for their boyfriends or “friends with benefits,”using the social media site, FaceTime which is basically Skype for your phone. It has taken “phone sex” to a whole new level, become popular as a way of “safe sex.”
3. Hold them accountable. Let them know they must ask before they sign up for any social media website and they must provide you with the password. My daughter also knows that we as her parents at anytime can check her phone or social media sites. This helps keep them accountable. If they are unkind or show they are not responsible, take it away from them. Their phones and social media accounts are a privilege, not a right!
4. No is a complete sentence. Just because all their friends can have their phones in their rooms, or because so, and so’s mom said they could use a certain social media site, doesn’t mean you have to. No means no, period.
5. Be their parent, not their best friend. I have told my daughter if you don’t hate me at least once in your life, I am not doing my job. Rules and boundaries are made to protect our kids. We need to protect them. If we are parents to them now, we can be their good friend when they are healthy, happy and responsible adults.
Have you or your teen ever had a bad experiences directly related to using social media?