Most adolescents and teens can’t imagine a world without Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites. As a parent, you may feel a responsibility to monitor your child’s social media use, and that makes sense.
However, it’s important to make a distinction between necessary monitoring, which you’re doing for your child’s safety, and simply impinging on their social life and interactions with their friends. Facebook for kids is a form of interaction – one that most children want limited to their peers as much as possible.
Here are 10 things that parents do on social media that might be embarrasing to their children:
1. Posting Too Much
Posting on your child’s Facebook wall once in a while is fine, but doing it three times per day is going to make them uncomfortable. Limit your posts to a few a week.
2. “Liking” Every Post
When your child shares a photo that you really like – a cute picture of the family dog for example – it’s okay to like it. That doesn’t mean you should click the “Like” button every time your child posts something.
3. Using Outdated Slang
Most of us can remember our parents saying something that made them seem as old as the abacus. If you’re going to comment on your child’s posts sparingly, avoid outdated slang. It might have been “hip” when you were growing up, but the kids are calling it something else now.
4. Tagging Embarrassing Pictures
As a parent, you probably have tons of embarrassing photos. Adolescents and teens are self-conscious however, so sharing those pictures will make them worried about what their friends think. Save the embarrassing pictures for when your kids are young adults.
5. Sending Friend Requests to Their Friends
Your child’s friends are not your friends, and your son or daughter will hear about it when you send friend requests to their classmates, probably in a teasing fashion. Let your kids have their own social circle.
6. Using Their Wall as a Form of Communication
Asking your kids what time that soccer game is this weekend is a reasonable question, but doing it on Facebook isn’t the right way to get the information. Ask them at the dinner table, not on the internet.
7. Being Too Personal
Putting personal information up about your kids on Facebook is a bad idea. Even something as simple as reminding your child about a doctor’s appointment could make them feel self-conscious.
8. Fighting Your Kids’ Battles
Little arguments between kids happen through social media just like on the playground. If it’s not serious, stay out of it. If it is serious, posting on a social media site isn’t the right way to intervene.
9. Correcting Poor Grammar or Spelling Mistakes
Yes, you should make sure your kids understand proper grammar and how to spell. That doesn’t mean leaving comments about errors on social media sites will help. You’ll embarrass them, and chances are they just made a mistake.
10. Posting for Your Kids
If you have access to your child’s social media passwords, posting a message for them is about the worst thing you can do. You might be tempted if they’re late coming home or miss curfew, but don’t do it unless your child is actually missing or in trouble.
Viewing social media as an alternative playground for children and teens – Facebook for kids if you will --- can help keep some parents from making embarrassing mistakes. While you might monitor your child from a distance at the playground, you aren’t going to run over to him or her with a group of friends and start showing your arsenal of embarrassing baby pictures. Don’t do it on social media sites either.