Inside: A downloadable social media contract that will help generate great conversations with your kids
Managing your child’s social media use can be daunting. We all know the basics; no social media in the bedroom, make sure privacy settings are on high and no talking to ‘randoms’. The problem is, we don’t know what we don’t know.
We have to trust kids to do the right thing. Obviously when a child is ready for that responsibility varies from child to child. You are the only one who will know when that time comes and you shouldn’t be swayed by pressure from outside.
When you do decide that they are ready, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with them about their responsibilities. A social media contract is a great way to trigger discussion and establish boundaries.
After the discussion, make sure the contract is kept somewhere visible, like on the fridge or on a pin-up board where they do their homework. Referring back to the contract will remind them of the commitments they made.
This contract will allow you to have positive discussions about social media while still making sure you cover all bases. You can download the social media contract here or at the bottom of the page.
Social Media Contract
1. Social media can be really positive. It’s fun to share with friends, it’s a good place for making plans and it’s nice to keep in touch with people I meet. I will enjoy it but never make it important. There are so many more important things in my life. Five more important things are:
2. I will think carefully about what I say on social media. I will be kind and respectful. I will talk about events and ideas, not people. I will not be involved in arguments. If I have an issue with someone, I will resolve it face to face, not online.
3. I will think very carefully about the images I post of myself. Taking photographs of body parts and posing in a sexual way is not allowed. I cannot guarantee who will see those photos or where they will end up, even if my security settings are on. My emerging sexuality is perfectly normal and to be celebrated, but not shared on social media.
4. I will not use social media during family time. My family is important. They will love me and support me for years after all the social media platforms and online friends have been forgotten.
5. I will not use social media in my bedroom. I would not invite hundreds of people into my very private space in real life, so I will not do it online.
6. I will turn off all technology an hour before bed because sleep is important. My brain is growing and it needs rest. I will be a happier and more resilient person if I am not interrupted by technology throughout the night. All technology will be left in a shared family area overnight for charging.
7. I will take breaks from social media when my parents think it’s time. I understand that I might be upset about it, but I will also feel better after a bit of time disconnected. Sometimes it is nice to not know what the rest of the world is doing.
8. I will only ‘friend’ people I have met in real life. Yes, I may get a friend request from someone my age who is friends with all my friends, but that doesn’t mean they know him either! I understand that people with bad intentions create profiles to groom people like me.
9. I will never be involved in bullying online. Ever. If I witness bullying, or someone bullies me, I will save evidence and show it to an adult.
10. My privacy settings will always be set on high. People can use clues from photographs, and the things I say, to work out the details of my life. What I post on social media is for friends and family only, not the whole world.
11. I will have all the location services turned off. I understand that people can use these features to work out where I live, go to school and spend my spare time. It’s none of their business and it’s unsafe.
12. I will never give my social media passwords to my friends. Although I love and trust my friends, boundaries are important. There are some details that shouldn’t be shared with anyone, like bank details and definitely not passwords.
13. If I feel uncomfortable about anything while I am on social media, gaming or communicating online, I will log off and talk to one of these 5 adults:
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Linda Stade has worked in various teaching and management roles in education for twenty-eight years. She has worked in government and private schools, country and city, single-sex and co-ed. Currently, she is a writer, speaker and consultant in Western Australia. You can find out more about her work here.