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
Instructional Technology Ministry and Social Media Visionary
Instructor with Edward Waters College