Parental Expectations on Social Media for their Children

Parental Expectations on Social Media

for their Children

As a Social Media speaker, blogger and educator in the elementary

and higher education environment youth and teens are posting

the wrong messages on their Social Media platforms. A teen’s

first impression is creating lasting images that will follow them

forever from the digital content they are creating.

The use of Social Media has grown to an obsession for many youth

and teens and their judgements are clouded by wanting to be popular

and their content to go “viral.” Advancements in Smartphone technology,

wireless accessibility and the ease of use of Social Media has created

dangerous situations for youth and teens because they are putting their

whole lives online for the world to see.

Exposure to Cyberbullying, Sexting, Cyberporn and Cyberstalkers is

increasing to the potential of physical, emotional and psychological harm

to youth and teens.

Conducting Social Media workshops across Florida on teens “digital

footprints and content” teens are learning the content they post online never

goes away to their shock. The idea of deleting one account and opening up

another to “hide” seems easy enough, talking to teens and demonstrating

the power of search engines, cache, and digital software teens are learning

they cannot hide their “digital footprints, content and presence.”

The mentality of many teens is that even if they don’t use their real names

no one can find them is a dangerous misunderstanding with potentially costly

consequences. Parents play a key role in monitoring their children’s digital

activity especially this summer when school is out and there is little or no

parental monitoring. Teens cannot be given free reign of the Internet because

the Internet reflects our society; there is good, bad and evil. Even gangs and

terrorists groups are recruiting online to entice teens and even youth to

participate in activities that can threaten their lives.

The importance of teaching teens to Brand themselves and Market

their abilities, skills and intelligence for careers and higher education

is important. It is key for parents to be “Friends” on Social Media

sites with children until 18 to monitor online behavior because an

online “digital footprint” is the first impression that society will receive

before physical meeting is arranged for college entrance, interview of

jobs, internships and even military service. Parents should have and

share their expectations of trust for using Social Media, not only for

their children’s content, but who they are friends with.

Parents should not be scared to monitor or even spy on their children.

If their children’s online activity is ever questioned by school officials

or law enforcement, the parent will be held accountable and responsible

for actions that may be criminal behaviors. Bullying/Cyberbullying,

CyberStalking, Cyberporn and Sexting in many states can be prosecuted

as third degree felonies. A study by Education Database Online

found that 43 percent of parents look in on their children’s Facebook

pages, Twitter feeds, Instagram photos weekly to make sure that

their children are investing in their futures not destroying them.

During my workshops teens are learning that Colleges/Universities

are “stalking” them to determine if they are digitally mature to be

granted admission. The military maybe looking at emotional and

psychological behaviors of future and current recruits. Businesses

are conducting Social Media fact finding searches to check employee’s

digital footprints for false and truthful information.

It is vital that in today’s schools and even churches teens need to be

educated on how their Social Media content affects their lives. Crime

and safety experts like Ken Jefferson in Jacksonville, Florida share,

parents have rights to monitor children’s online activity, stating,

“They (children) can’t be allowed to say, ‘You’re invading my

privacy,’” “The parents have paid the cost to be the boss, to invade

their children’s privacy at any time, as long as they’re under the

parents roof, that’s they’re (the parents) responsibility.”

I recommend to parents if they have not done so look for online

interaction by their children about sex, drugs, alcohol, gang activity

and potential sexual hookup/meetups. Communication is important so

parents can learn the “codes” their teens may use to share information

with others online. The numbers of Cyberbullying, Cyberstalking,

Cyberporn and CyberSexting are increasing. Teens are showing signs

of depression, fear, low self-esteem and attempting suicide because of

online participation and cyber-attacks from other teens. Data shows

that teens rarely communicate with their parents about online activity,

so parents must continuously monitor, communicate and reinforce

their presence to protect their children.

Parents should be role models for their children, if parents are looking

at porn and violence they teach children it is ok because the adults

in their lives are doing it. Children even know parents passwords

and look to see what their parents are doing. A good rule is never

underestimate your child or children when it comes to technology.

Wm Jackson, M.Ed.

My Quest To Teach

Westside Church of Christ

Jacksonville, Florida

Instructional Technology Ministry and Social Media Visionary

Instructor with Edward Waters College

Educational Technology


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