8 Moms on How They Gave Their Kid the Social Media 'Talk'

8 Moms on How They Gave Their Kid the Social Media 'Talk'

Say goodbye to the birds and the bees. Today’s talk is about social media responsibility.

By Kelly Bryant

Remember when the talk about the “birds and the bees” was the big awkward conversation parents had to have with kids? Welcome to the digital age where the new tongue-tied talk is about social media responsibility … and explaining why some people lack it entirely. These eight moms share how they’ve approached social media, selfies, and improper Internet behavior, with varying amounts of success!

1. “I showed my daughter embarrassing photos from my high school yearbook, and she laughed at everyone’s ’80s hair. I explained an image lives on forever and that even though everyone in my graduating class might have a copy of that book, if you put a picture you think you could be embarrassed by years later on the Internet, it’s there for the world to see … forever. I think she got the point.” – Donna L., Tampa, Florida

2. “I know it sounds young, but I had to have a talk about selfies with my daughter when she was 6. One of her more precocious friends has a teenage sister whose selfies they would try to copy. I wasn’t comfortable with it at all.” – Kristen L., Golden, Colorado

3. “We explained to our son that there are bad people, and we won't let him post selfies. Any friends he has on [social media] we have to approve, and they have to be actual people he knows. We've been lucky that he’s not into [it] that much. He watches a lot of [videos]. We just make sure we stay involved and know what he's doing.” – Angela M., Orlando, Florida

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4. “Our talk about selfies happened pretty early, because I was so frustrated with my daughters making ‘duck lips’ even in family photos. I wanted to make sure they didn’t make those faces for their class pictures!” – Jen W., Rochester, New York

5. “When my son was born, I was that crazy parent who started a social media account just for him to share photos and silly posts about the new things he was doing. Dumbest idea ever. All I do is post photos of him on my page -- he doesn’t need his own, at least not yet. And the last thing I need is a kid who is obsessed with social media from birth. I quickly deleted it.” – Jackie S., Los Angeles, California

6. “This is embarrassing, but my husband and I used to be (and maybe still kind of are) obsessed with seeing how many likes a photo we post gets. To the point where even my 5-year-old son noticed. When he started asking me how many likes a photo of him got and was that considered a lot, I realized I had to have a huge talk with him about how that kind of thing is not important. And also dial back my own behavior.” – Karen T., Bellmore, New York


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7. “My daughter was begging for social media access when she was 9, because she wanted to follow some actors and actresses she likes from TV. I had to explain to her she couldn’t have her own account, but if there was something she was interested in seeing, let me know, and I would review it first and decide if it’s appropriate. I explained that sometimes people make bad choices, and even though these particular kids might have a squeaky clean image on TV, they could be different in real life. I’m not sure she totally got it, but I do think for the most part, she comes to me when she wants to see something on social media. I just didn’t want to swear social media off as a completely horrible thing, because I don’t want her sneaking around to get access to it somewhere else.” – Jennifer H., Pasadena, California

8. “I thought I was being smart, but just telling my 14-year-old if it’s not something she would willingly show her grandma, then don’t post it. Her response was, ‘But Grandma doesn’t even have a computer or a cell phone.’ She got me there.” – Carrie M., Merrick, New York

How did you explain social media responsibility to your kids?

Kelly Bryant is a freelance writer and pop culture junkie. She resides in Los Angeles with her husband and their two sons. Follow her on Twitter @MsKellyBryant.

Image ©iStock.com/Susan Chiang

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