Every day in April, I’ll be posting a video about one of the questions in my guide, (Over) 100 Questions to ask your Kids About Sexuality. The guide is free and if you don’t have it, you can get it by clicking here. Today’s question is one you can ask your tweens: what is/are your favourite social media platform(s)?
As adults, we sometimes worry about what the young folk are getting up to online. Between media horror stories about sexting scandals and porn addiction, it’s no wonder! Concerns about our kids’ safety and well-being never go away entirely, but learning where your kid is hanging out online and what goes on in those digital spaces can help soothe a bit of our parental anxiety.
In many cases, our kids are more familiar and more comfortable with social media than we are. Most tweens are at a point developmentally where they’re learning super-fast and they often enjoy showing off their smarts. As adults, we can take advantage of their tech savvy and know-it-all tendencies to get the lowdown on social media. If your conversation allows for it, consider asking your tween these follow-up questions about their favourite social platform:
- How does it work?
- What type of things do people post?
- How popular is it?
- What do you like best about it? (I like this question better than “what do you like about it?” which tweens sometimes interpret as judgemental.)
Safety and Responsibility
Another concern for a lot of families is whether or not youth are putting themselves at risk online. Depending on your kid and how open they are to talking, you might bring up online safety as part of the same conversation or save it for another time. Either way, here are a couple more follow-up questions, you can ask:
- How do you protect your privacy?
- How do you decide what to share?
See for yourself
When Snapchat first became a thing, some of the youth that I worked with tried to explain it to me but I still couldn’t wrap my head around it. #OldLadyThornhill. But it was obviously a super popular app amongst the much-younger-and-cooler-than-me set. So I downloaded it and spent some time getting my snaps on.
Ultimately, I decided that apart from the flower crown, Snapchat is not my jam. But I understand how it works and I have a much clearer sense of what goes on in that space now. If your tween is using an app or a platform that you don’t understand, sign up, log in and check it out for yourself. It may or may not become part of your own communications repertoire, but at least you’ll be a bit more familiar with the digital culture your kid has engaged in.
See you tomorrow!