Social Media Guidance for Teenagers
The basic appeal of Social Media in teenage years has clear roots. Our individual needs to be acknowledged, to be valued and to be part of a group are heightened during these years. Social networking sites provide a fast and effective way to give and receive attention. At a time when young people are in search of their identity in relation to others around them, many sites revolve around the ability of an individual to build a web "presence", to be seen and heard by their own age group. Research tells us the direct influence and validation from family decreases at this age in preference to peer group. The smartphones that we give them access to allow them to do this via messaging, email, photo sharing, game playing, blogging, music and a range of other on-line communication.
We need to involve ourselves in their on-line world because they are still children and we are still the adults. We a have a clear view on the safety of the real environments we allow them into and our responsibility to know who they are with, when and where … the same is true of the virtual environments.
“If we ignore it we yield the space to kids, who do what kids do: some push the envelope, disregard safety, and disrespect others……but some also make brilliant uses of the space.”
How parents do this will completely depend on their own value set and parenting style; ranging from agreement and negotiation through different degrees of monitoring to control.
In school we give clear guidance on this through PD, assemblies and tutor time discussions, we have clear systems of support for when things go wrong. Our peer mediators not only help resolve problems when they arise but are magnificent anti-bullying campaigners taking the message of safety and responsible use across the whole school.
Attached to this page are examples of resources that may be of use to parents seeking to gain information on how this issue, ranging from "how to?" guides to digital safety magazines. Please feel free to browse and contact us if there is anything you would like help or information on around this issue.