5 Rules Every Parent Should Teach Their Kids About Social Media

It’s the most controversial issue of our days and parents can’t seem to wrap their hand around it: when is the right age for kids and teenagers to start texting or using social media?

In this day and age, it’s really tough to keep your children away from social media or texting. “All the other kids have them” is a pretty frequently used argument by parents to excuse their kids’ exposure to social media at such an early age.

MORE: All Mothers Need To Hear This Powerful And Inspiring Message

The youngsters are more prone to believe in whatever stupidities are being spread on the internet and don’t know how to shield themselves from online dangers. We may be aware of these but our kids surely aren’t. All types of predators surf the social networks, from anonymous ones to ‘frenemies’ who use social media as a weapon.

MORE: People Who Had This Trait As Kids Might Now Be Psychopaths

Social media platforms are purely ideal for cyberbullying. Children and young adults don’t actually acknowledge how much harm can one mean post cause. Without the guilt or discomfort to say it to their faces, they feel free to post cruel messages, to ridicule or to make fun of people online.

MORE: Parents of Successful Kids Have These 6 Things in Common

Psychologists can’t say what’s the right age to start using social media. Every family should decide on their own when’s the right time to expose their child to social media. But they do have some great pieces of advice for teaching children to use technology in a way that reflects family values, respect and dignity.

Here are 5 things parents should teach their kids about the use of social media:

1. Choose your words carefully

Online communication has a big weakness, it lacks body language. That’s why the person at the other end can take your message in a whole other way because sarcasm or humor get lost in translation. As well as the expression in your face or the tone of your voice. People find it easy to act in a mean way via text or the internet. So you should probably tell your kid not to say something online that he wouldn’t say to a person’s face.

MORE: You Can Blame Your Parents For These Two Genetic Traits

2. Social media is not a battlefield

Gossiping online is never a good choice. Firstly, because it’s not fair to talk about people who can’t defend themselves and secondly, because your words can be misinterpreted, reposted or manipulated. It shouldn’t be used as a place for battle, where you exclude and “kill” people who don’t share the same views as you or your peer group.

3. Nothing is actually private

Everything that you post online is not so private after all. A great deal of people can see your post and it will forever be there. You should never post something you don’t want everybody to see.

MORE: 10 Signs You Were Raised By Narcissistic Parents

4. Be kind

Kids should be taught to always be kind and positive and never say cruel, ugly or nasty things to anyone ever. They should ask themselves: “What would mom think if she read this?”

5. Take your time

It’s really easy to write mean things when you’re angry or sad. That’s why it’s important to take it slow and don’t surrender to the temptation of writing exactly what comes to your mind in that moment.

Let’s teach kids how to stay away from the dangers online, please share this with your fellow parents!