3 Ways To Tell If Your Child Is Acting Up on Social Media

April 9, 2013  |  

How many times have you turned to YouTube only to find another young girl twerking it’s like her day job? What about the times you’ve looked on Instagram and noticed that a boy that’s barely pubescent has dozens of half-naked girls on his profile?

In this day and age it is commonplace to witness a young person (usually under the age of 18) behaving badly on social media. Whether they’re posing inappropriately on Instagram, fighting on YouTube or threatening their peers on Facebook, social media is giving our children an outlet to behave badly. To make this even more shocking are the number of parents that have no idea about their child’s behavior on social media. While behaving badly is one thing, it may be negatively impacting their behavior at school also.

As someone who’s worked in education for the past 11 years, I’ve had to break the news to a parent that a fight or disagreement is usually linked to something being said on social media. Most parents are in denial at first but the good thing about social media is that the proof is there. As a rule I try to give parents strategies to not only help monitor their children’s social media activity but to help them behave better in class.

More and more kids over the age of 13 engaging in multiple avenues of social media. To make things even more disturbing, according to TopTenReviews, 29% of teens have posted mean info, embarrassing photos or spread rumors about someone. Twenty nine percent  of young people have been stalked or contacted by a stranger, while 24 percenthave had private or embarrassing info made public without their permission.  Does anyone see a problem?

The first thing I tell parents is to get their own social media accounts and find their child’s profile. So many parents claim they have no interest in social media but the only way to really know what their child is doing is to monitor their account. This means having (and using) your own account and getting your child’s username and password to all of their accounts.

Once you have access to their social media accounts parents should begin to:

  • Check their child’s social media accounts and school materials for signs of bullying. Kids are notorious for writing about what is happening at school in journals or via notes to their peers.  Many disagreements between students are caused via social media and are brought to the school where they usually end up in arguments and/or physical altercations.
  • Observe if their child’s behavior is changing. A good place to start is to pay a visit to the child’s school and have frank conversations with the teachers and administrators about their child’s behavior and the people they’re hanging around.  Surprisingly the school may notice behaviors in a child long before the parents do.
  • Look on social media and their friend’s accounts and ask questionss, and lots of them.  If you notice a close friend of your child engaging in inappropriate behavior online you can believe either your child is considering this behavior or also engages in this behavior.

If you don’t want to see your child on social media twerking, fighting or being bullied take a moment and use these three steps so that you can really know what’s going on!

Franchesca Warren is the Owner of an Educational blog, The Educator’s Room and lifestyle blog, BossyGirl1980. She currently resides in Atlanta, GA where she is a mother to three and wife to one wonderful husband. Please check out her new book dealing with teacher burnout, “Keep the Fire Burning:Avoiding Teacher Burnout.”

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