1. Educate yourself
It is important to become familiar with the social media platforms your daughter uses. While this can be challenging, it is crucial to say up-to-date and educate yourself on the potential dangers of the different platforms.
2. Talk to her about the dangers
Once you have educated yourself on the potential dangers your daughter may face discuss them with her. For example, explain to her that she should “ghost” herself on Snapchat and disable her geolocator on Instagram. These simple tips will help to keep her safe from other users having the ability to locate her. (To me, these features are so scary and dangerous!)
Just a few more points of discussion to help you get started:
How to deal with cyberbullying
How to keep profiles private (or as “private” as they can be…we will touch on this in #3)
How to handle feelings of jealousy, inadequacy, or isolation that may arise from using social media and express that it is okay to seek help if you feel like this
3. Understand that nothing is ever “private”
Even though your profiles may appear as “private”, information that is sent out via social should always be handled as if it is “public” information. Explain to your daughter that teachers, future employers, and strangers will all have the ability to access her information. Therefore, it is important that she does not share anything she would not want the whole world to see.
4. Monitor her usage
As mentioned in #1, it is important to become familiar with the different social media platforms your daughter is using. “Follow” her on the different platforms, monitor the content she posts, limit her screen time, and check privacy settings. If you do not want to seem overbearing, it may help to explain why you are monitoring or limiting her usage.
5. Understand that what you see isn’t always reality
In a world where we are exposed to images that are constantly filtered and photoshopped it is beneficial to help your daughters become critical consumer of the media. What I mean by this is that it is important to educate your daughter that what they see is not always the reality of a situation. Typically, people do not post images of themselves that highlight their imperfections, even though we all have them! So if your daughter gets bummed that she doesn’t look like the girl “on instagram” remind her that she is beautiful in her own way and many of the individuals she sees do not even look like their instagram pictures without all of the editing.