Promoting responsible posts: Ways parents can help prevent kids social media lives from having harmful effects

MILWAUKEE -- Does your teen have access to social media? Well as parents, it's our job to help them present a responsible online presence. Child development expert, Jessica Lahner with Carroll University, joins Real Milwaukee to help us help them.

The things people post online are an extension of who they are. When teens post online communities their values and character, which in turn impacts how others perceive and treat them. The treatment from others impacts how teens see themselves. It is parents' job to teach responsible social media use to decrease the risks teens face online and increase the benefits.

How do parents do this?

Considering alignment with personal values. You can have teens list their personal values and then ask themselves if their online behavior matches.

Consider the 3 W's before posting: 

  • Who is the audience? What if grandma or coach saw the post.
  • What am I trying to say and does it align with values?
  • Why? What's your motivation?

Consider the impact on future self. Have teens set long-term goals to better picture their future selves. Cut out magazine pictures and make a collage depicting their dreams. Keep the collage visible. When posting on social media, have teen question degree to which post aligns with future goals.

Parents need to monitor teens' online behavior:

  • Keep all usernames/passwords
  • Considering monitoring apps
  • Set rules/limits together
  • Periodically look over online activity
  • Randomly offer positive feedback
  • Challenge posts reflecting poor choices