Is your teen’s social media news feed delivering too much information? Social media is a wonderful tool that makes it easy to stay connected AND this is also the problem. It is possible to be overwhelmed with trivia from friends (many of whom are simply social media connections) and family members posting every fleeting thought and meal. And the value of staying connected is diminished when you miss important stuff shared on social media and feelings get may get hurt.
It is possible to manage your news feed to focus on the important things and remove from the feed the types of posts that do not really matter or add value. Most social media apps will allow you to specify and block certain types of posts.
Conversation points about nurturing relationships on line
Help your child manage their news feed and nurture genuine friendships. Review with your child their current news feed. Is there profanity in some of the posts? Are some of the images disturbing? Is some of the stuff TMI (too much information?). Below are some tips to start a conversation:
- Talk about the kinds of things that your child wants to see in order to be a better friend to a classmate, or to a cousin or another a relative who lives far away.
- Does your child understand that trust is verifiable and that there are circles of trust in “friends”.
- Inner circle (your own relationship with the Lord and family)
- Close friends (you feel safe in that there is mutual caring; you are not being judged by them; they accept you for who you are)
- Friends (share common values and interests, and you have some life experience to know how they handle stress and conflict in relationships, but not necessarily to be trusted with very sensitive information)
- Connections /acquaintances (you don’t have much contact with these folks and have little real life experience to consider them trustworthy except for the things that you are known for publicly, like playing in a sport or an extra curricular activity)
News feed content management
Have your child show you how the features of their social media app enable you to customize your news feed, and do research if necessary. Here are a couple of links to get you started.
- How to manage Instagram feeds by YouKnow with Steve Woda
- Tips for managing Facebook feeds via Mashable with Amymae Elliott
For kids under 13 years of age, consider YourSphere social media platform which provides a security patrol for age-appropriate content and contacts.
Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She is a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.
- Cyber safety for kids and families on TheFish103.9FM
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Jodie Stevens, hostess of The Fish Family Morning Show on 103.9FM The Fish offers insights and lessons learned about faith and recovery from addiction. Check out her blog, Genuine Life with Jodie Stevens, weekday mornings on the Family Morning Show.