It seems almost daily we are bombarded with headlines like “Is Your Teen Doing This on Social Media?” Oftentimes the “this” is something scary and horrific.
There’s so much advice warning parents about things their teens shouldn’t be doing on social media. Do you ever wonder what your teen should be doing on social media? There are lots of things your teens should be doing on social media that can benefit them now and in the future. And, our teens deserve to know them!
Is your teen doing this on social media?
Staying Positive with Their Posts and Pictures?
One of the biggest things your teen should be doing on social media is staying positive with their posts and pictures.
While staying positive in general is always a good idea, there’s more to it than that. As your child ages, college representatives, potential bosses, and scholarship committees may be reviewing their social media profiles. They can gain an opinion of your child based solely on those sites. Keeping the posts positive can make an impression on those reviewing their profiles for academic and job opportunities.
Listing Their Clubs, Awards, and Accomplishments?
Your teens should also be listing the social and academic clubs they join, as well as their awards and accomplishments.
This can sometimes be uncomfortable for teens. They might not want to brag about themselves or seem too forward about their accomplishments. But as the age of technology grows, social media profiles become a lifelong portfolio of sorts. Use tools like Facebook’s “add a life event” to attach these awards and accomplishments to the date they were received or awarded. This goes for clubs too.
For example, if your student joined FBLA at school, make sure they add that to their social media profiles and include the office held, if any. It’s best for them to think of their social media profiles as ongoing, live college applications.
Letting Social Media Reflect Their Values?
It’s absolutely okay for your teen to be strict with what they allow on their social media profiles.
If someone tags a picture of them that misrepresents the values they hold dear, it’s acceptable for them to ask for that tag to be removed. If a friend tags them in a post which uses language that is offensive, or uses language that demeans another person, it’s acceptable to remove those tags as well. Selecting social media friends should be as carefully done as selecting friends in the real world.
Adding Photos Showing They Care About Their Community and Others?
Teens should also be adding photos of themselves doing charity work, receiving awards, and participating in socially positive activities like community fundraisers, sports, music, art.
Encourage them to think of their social media sites as their own personal website. One that others will visit before making a final decision about important opportunities in life. Pages your teen chooses to like or follow will also reflect on who they are as a person. Make sure they’re choosing wisely.
Keeping Their Social Media Profiles Up to Date?
Make sure your teen’s “about me” descriptions are up to date.
If they wrote those when they first joined social media sites, chances are they’re out of date. Future employers and college admissions officers will be checking to make sure the information on their application lines up with what’s reflected on their social media. Keeping a profile which has a current photo, hobbies, and interests will help maintain a consistent image.
Remind your teens that doing all of these things on their social media accounts will create a solid foundation for them later in life too. While some of these things may not be as fun as chatting with friends, encourage them to make smart, proactive choices for themselves now. Their future selves will thank them!