Your tween may be bothering you, night and day, begging to be allowed to have their own social media accounts. Parents need to realize that social media was not designed for tweens. Despite what your tween may tell you, it is unlikely that everyone at their school is on social media.
Social Media is for Age 13 and Up
Facebook requires everyone to be at least 13 years old before they can create an account. Twitter has advice for parents of teenagers who want to get their own Twitter account. That advice is not directed at tweens. Tumblr requires everyone to be at least 13 years of age before they can have their own Tumblr account. Instagram also requires that a person be at least 13 years old before they can have an Instagram account.
Tweens Aren’t Mature Enough for Social Media
Tweens are going through an awkward period of development. They want to be kids – and adults – at the same time. Tweens tend to think the entire world is staring at them (and that this makes them the center of the universe.) Many tweens think it is important to have a lot of friends. These personality traits aren’t a good mix with social media.
Your tween probably isn’t mature enough to understand why they shouldn’t follow thousands of people. They may not realize the danger of posting personal information (like phone numbers, or the name of their school) online where strangers can find it. Tweens tend to have low impulse control. They simply aren’t ready to have their own social media accounts.
Try a Compromise
Some parents feel comfortable giving their tween access to social media – and closely monitoring it. One way to do that is with a family account. The parents make it clear that the they will be using, and checking on, that account. Parents can set privacy settings and have control over who their tween follows.
Parents can take that one step farther. Don’t give your tween the password to the family accounts. Type it in yourself (and be prepared to change it often). Make your tween use the account on a big screen – like a large computer monitor or a smart TV. Don’t let them log into the shared social media account on a phone, and then walk out of the room with it.
Pay attention to what your tween posts and who they talk to. The tween will probably not like this arrangement, but it is a good way for parents to teach their tweens what the parents consider to be acceptable online behavior. The other option is to make the tween wait until he or she is older before they are allowed to make their own social media accounts.
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