Don’t underestimate the influence social media can have on your child’s feelings of anxiety or on her decisions to keep trying or to give up. The things classmates are saying online can affect her perseverance in school and other activities. Be as aware as you possibly can about the social media experience your child is having. If necessary, look for ways to intervene.
What you can say
“Sofia, I know how important it is for you to stay connected to your friends. You seem to be handling the balance pretty well between using your phone for social stuff and using it to help you organize your school assignments.”
“I just want to stress that if you ever feel anxious or uncomfortable about what’s being said to you or about you online, you need to come and let me know. Sometimes kids can be very nasty and unfair online. This can be hurtful. It can also be very disruptive to everything from your schoolwork to how you feel about extracurriculars.”
“Just know I’m here and can help if you need me. Also, I want to remind you that I expect you to keep your cool online. No nasty-grams. Remember to think three times before you hit send!”
Why this will help
Social media is very important to tweens and teens. They value it so much that they may not come to parents for help. They may worry that doing so will lead to them losing the ability to participate in social networking.
By making clear you understand how important social media is, you’ll help your child feel more comfortable asking you to protect her if things get out of hand. It’s a delicate balancing act for parents, but an essential role for you to play.