We live in a world where our children will undoubtedly want to create a social media account sometime during their adolescence. Some of us, as adults, may choose to not participate in social media. We either don’t have the time, don’t know enough about it, or see it as a younger generation’s fad. I was a big fan of using the first excuse. Hey, I have four kids, one of them has special needs, AND my husband is in the military, getting ready to deploy yet again….I am one of those people who forgets to eat all day and doesn’t sit down until I get in my car to run my kids to their soccer games, band rehearsals, or doctor appointments. I did not have the time to sit in front of a computer screen and figure out some social networking site where people constantly post pictures of their food or tell everyone that their cat just threw up on their couch (btw, posts like these still drive me crazy!)……
But, I could only deny using social media for so long. I started doing a lot of volunteer work for the military and staying up to date and connected with the military families I was helping, pretty much required me to join Facebook. I was not happy about it and used it minimally out of necessity. Then, I noticed my kids knew more about social media and the internet than I did.
This video really drives home the point about our generations having a digital divide:
I know people in my own generation who are almost as computer illiterate as some of the lovely seniors in this documentary. I was pretty close a few years ago.
The truth is, 94 percent of recruiters use social media during the recruiting process, and 39 percent of businesses use social media when screening applicants. These numbers are only growing each year. Check out these other statistics.
So, our children are actually going to NEED to learn how to use social media in order to be competitive in their career search and to be productive in their line of work eventually.
Many children have created a social media page without their parents knowing about it, post inappropriate content, and have no idea about privacy settings. I personally, would rather know my daughters are using social media rather than have them sneaking behind my back and hiding it from me.
The best way for me to learn about social media is to stop being a stubborn adult and embrace the change in our times. I WILL use social media. Not only will I use it, I will learn everything I can about it, so that I can teach my children how to be responsible and ethical digital citizens.
http://www.ikeepsafe.org/ is one of the best sites I have found and is a great starting place for learning about online safety, citizenship and how to teach your kids. They have links for parents, educators, and even our youth. There are some great tools, videos and apps available through ikeepsafe.org that can help you along your way. One of my favorite links is the Parent’s Guide to Facebook. Here is the link to download the guide.
https://www.fosi.org/ is another great website where you can join a mailing list and receive great tips on some of the latest social media apps your children might be using.
If you are just starting out in using the social media world and learning about online safety, it can seem daunting at first. But, just like everything else, the more you do it, the better you become. Have fun with it and talk to your kids about it. You might learn something from them!