Tips for Social Media and Phones

If your oldest child is moving into their early teens in your house, you will have already had discussions about internet use, mobile phone use, and social media use I’m sure. It’s a challenge, and now a normal part of the social lives of our teens that we didn’t get to experience growing up, making it a bit harder to know how to manage.

Digital technologies and social media platforms change quickly, however, values remain consistent - so don’t try and keep up with technology change, instead, focus on fostering and applying your family and/or Catholic values to shape how your teen interacts with others via the internet and social media.

Ask them – who were you kind to online today? How did you make someone feel positive and cared about today? How did you cooperate to get a good outcome online today? How did you contribute to making the internet a safe place today? You get the idea – come up with some questions that encourage young people to lean towards the positives, and avoid contributing to the spread of negative behaviours online.

Here’s some ideas to consider:

· Internet access in your home is a privilege that you permit, not a teenage entitlement or right, sometimes our young teens get confused about this, so don’t hesitate to remind them that privileges are earned by contributing positively to the family or whānau, and include completing chores. Work together to come up with an arrangement so that expectations are clear for all.

· Laptops used at school are charged overnight in a family area (avoid charging them in bedrooms for as long as you can).

· Mobile phones are handed in to parents at a set time each evening, decide on a time together. Sleep disruption and tiredness impact young teens’ ability to make good choices, and the temptation to sneak onto their phones or laptops at night is very high if they have easy access.

· Consider turning the wi-fi off in your house at a set time each evening.

· Remember that Gaming consoles (Xbox, Playstation etc) have internet access – maybe the power cord for the console needs handed in at a set time in the evening too.