76% of teens ages 13 to 17 use social media. Our teens are incredible tech savvy. Their social media skills often rival or exceed that of their parents. As a parent, it’s easy to overlook the essential social media skills every teen needs. We’re so busy focusing on what they are posting and who they are connecting with online that we miss the basics.
This became obvious to me this past week . . . I sat down to work Monday. I had a great weekend. I was ready to focus and kick off the week in high gear. I started my morning off great, then all of a sudden it happened. Something on social media really bothered me. It was blowing up my newsfeed! Friends were upset, their friends were upset, it was multiplying fast and it wasn’t something I could just click and ignore. I needed to stop and check the facts on something that was circulating. Then I needed to process my thoughts before I posted. While most of social media is positive, there are times when it’s going to cause us a bit of frustration. Remember social media is a form of communication. And, with that, there are bound to be times when we have uncomfortable moments.
While many teenagers will tell you they can’t image being cut off from social media, most teenagers also acknowledge social media does have its occasional negative side. 68% of teen social media users say they experience people “stirring up drama” on social media. 23% of teens say it happens frequently. This drama impacts teens. 21% of teens report feeling worse about their life because of what they see from their friends. A much higher number, 42% have had someone post things about them they cannot change or control.
So how do we help teenagers navigate the difficult waters of online interaction?
3 Social Media Skills Every Teen Needs
Check the Facts
Before we get upset at a person or a story, be sure to check the facts. Is the information that is circulating accurate? Or is it blown out of proportion? Worse yet, is it just downright false?
Give Yourself Time to Process
Before responding, give yourself time to fully process your thoughts and feelings. Responses crafted in the heat of the moment often carry a harsh edge to them that you don’t intend. Ask yourself if this is the tone and language you would use if you were speaking face to face with someone. This applies even if you are addressing a public figure or company.
Always Remember Your Social Media Page is Your Home
Your blog or social media pages are your “home.” Remember, YOU maintain the atmosphere of your home. If friends or family begin using your home as a place to tear down one another, step in and address the offending party. It likely means you need to message a friend privately to lovingly let them know they’ve stepped out of line. Let them know mistakes happen. Clear it up and move on. But, do feel free to maintain the atmosphere of “your home.”
Your teen may be tech savvy. You may feel they are showing you tips and tricks on many of the social media platforms. But, don’t overlook sharing these 3 essential social media skills. Your teen needs the sound wisdom you have to offer!