The father of three runs an online tech support site, AskDaveTaylor.com as well as his own daddy blog, GoFatherhood.com. Naturally, his skill sets would collide when it came time to oversee his children’s use of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.
Taylor shared some sage advice on the subject during last month’s At Home Dad Convention in Denver. Consider the following when your son or daughter joins the social media revolution:
- Kids Share Passwords: You may take a beat before giving your wife your email password, but teens think little of sharing this kind of information. And, at a time in their lives when today’s boyfriend is tomorrow’s enemy, that information could come back to haunt them.
- Nothing Is Ever Deleted on the Internet: Children may think nothing of posting something sensitive on line for a quick laugh, but as we learn through the news that information is often accessible beyond its assumed shelf date. Parents should impress upon their kids how much that simple statement means, and how it could directly impact their future. Snapchat tells teens that everything is ephemeral. Meanwhile, Twitter is sending Tweets to the Library of Congress.
- Model Good Social Media Behavior: No one wants to sit next to a teenager who can’t bear to look away from his smartphone. The only thing worse is a teen who must respond to every text within seconds. What if he learned it from watching you? Children take so many cues from their parents, including their relationship to technology. If you’d like more engaged children, step away from your smartphone and let that text marinate before answering it.
- Beware Extra Information: Did you know the photographs you snap on your iPhone may have geolocation information attached to them? That’s an example of how much personal information we innocently send out each day. Check the privacy settings for each social media network to make sure your children aren’t sharing more than they’d like to share.
- Paranoia is Justified: Getting your kids to be social media savvy is a smart path to follow, but it’s often best to be a tad paranoid about these cyber-services. Social media can get ugly really fast, from cyber-bullying to opening ourselves up to people we may not want in our lives.
- Make Social Media a Team Sport: Don’t just look down your nose at your Twitter-obsessed children. Build a solid trust relationship with them regarding their social media use. Go through their Facebook “friends” list with them and see who they’ve let into their digital lives. Put computers in public places so children will be less tempted to misbehave. “It’s up to us to protect our kids,” Taylor says.