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Advice Re Social Media for 14 YO Going into 9th Grade


lea1
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I have two 14 year old sons who will be starting 9th grade at our local high school in the upcoming school year.  The high school uses Facebook and Twitter to communicate with students so they are going to need to have access to these apps.  Additionally, one of my sons has been asking for access to Instagram because he would like to post pictures and the other one is asking for access to Snapchat because he says that is how all of the kids at school communicate, not by texting.

Although our sons have had iphones since around the middle of 6th grade, we have kept them very locked down with no access to social media, no access to the internet and no access to the app store.  They are allowed to have two educational games on their phones, although they are no longer really interested in them much.  They have access to some specific web sites for various things but not free rein on the internet.

I am all for allowing more freedom over time, as their brains mature:) but I am pretty much a novice on social media apps.  Any advice you can provide would be appreciated, as I work through what to allow and how to monitor them.  Also, we have had many talks about what to do and what not to do online and the potential consequences they may encounter in the real world from making bad choices online.

Bring on the advice, oh wise ones:).

 

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So, I kept my son off of all apps and social media and it bit me in the behind this year as teachers relied on any manner of apps and links and social media services to communicate with him. THANKS CORONA! The default may be google classroom but even that is something he hadn’t used much for assignment turn-in, grades and whatnot. I can’t count on one hand the number of different things they’ve used. That’s not likely to change for PS kids in the fall either and will be even worse if your kids are in different classes. How much do you want to provide hand-holding and mentoring when they start school? B/c I basically had to tutor my son in all of these apps where my DD was fine and dandy. With her, we took the opposite approach and allowed more freedom and LOTS of discussion about what she saw and did online and what our family expectations are. It was definitely tough in the first couple years but now, as a high schooler, it’s smooth sailing. She has the privacy and discretion stuff down cold. I honestly think that worked much, much better.

Edited by Sneezyone
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10 minutes ago, OKBud said:

Phht. Balls to that.

If you MUST can they "communicate" with your twitter/FB instead?

What an asinine choice on their part. What is it that they are communicating vie SM???

Well I would have to go back and look through some papers and see if I can find that information.  We went to a meeting for incoming 9th graders during the last school year and they talked about it then.  I have been searching everywhere for information about school sports and have found a couple of things on Facebook about getting their sports physicals. 

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Just now, itsheresomewhere said:

I allow my DD who is almost 14 to have Twitter and instagram.  I have the password and can access it anytime.  For Facebook, my DD does a lot of animal shows so they animals have a Facebook account that we both run.  I used this as a stepping stone into social media. 

Do you monitor them at all?

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11 minutes ago, Sneezyone said:

So, I kept my son off of all apps and social media and it bit me in the behind this year as teachers relied on any manner of apps and links and social media services to communicate with him. THANKS CORONA! The default may be google classroom but even that is something he hadn’t used much for assignment turn-in, grades and whatnot. I can’t count on one hand the number of different things they’ve used. That’s not likely to change for PS kids in the fall either and will be even worse if your kids are in different classes. How much do you want to provide hand-holding and mentoring when they start school? B/c I basically had to tutor my son in all of these apps where my DD was fine and dandy. With her, we took the opposite approach with more freedom and LOTS of discussion about what she saw and did online and what our family expectations are. I honestly think that worked much, much better.

One son is very tech savvy so he will be fine.  The other only learns to use what he has to use but tech-savvy son is good at helping us all learn what we need to learn.

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5 minutes ago, itsheresomewhere said:

I allow my DD who is almost 14 to have Twitter and instagram.  I have the password and can access it anytime.  For Facebook, my DD does a lot of animal shows so they animals have a Facebook account that we both run.  I used this as a stepping stone into social media. 

I'm sorry, I just saw where you said you have the password and can access it anytime.  I have read that sneaky teens sometimes create another account that their parents don't know about and use it for their "real" account, while updating the other one periodically so their parents don't suspect.  My two are not usually the sneaky type but I'm just curious as to what other parents have experienced.

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1 minute ago, lea1 said:

I'm sorry, I just saw where you said you have the password and can access it anytime.  I have read that sneaky teens sometimes create another account that their parents don't know about and use it for their "real" account, while updating the other one periodically so their parents don't suspect.  My two are not usually the sneaky type but I'm just curious as to what other parents have experienced.

They could.  But she lives with some very tech savvy people.  Her posts are usually about crafting with clay, paper quilling, soap making and comics.  

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1 minute ago, kand said:

Ugh, social media has been a nightmare for my older two (the only ones who have any access to it—20 and 17). My oldest wasn’t even interested until she was about to turn 18, so that was easy, but she has since bounced back and forth between deleting her accounts and going back on. It’s such a sewer of garbage much of the time. We’ve had a number of episodes that have caused her serious mental trauma. 
 

My 17yo is the one who has forever tried to get around parental controls to do things on the computer she wasn’t supposed to. We had good reason to limit her, due to very poor choices each time she gained access. She now has pretty free access, though she doesn’t have the big ones—Facebook, tik tok, Snapchat, or instagram. Interestingly, she shared recently that her experiences in social spaces online have been pretty negative and she thinks we should keep her younger siblings off as long as possible. She has been subject to a lot of bullying via private messages. 
 

So, I think it’s really unfortunate for schools to expect kids to have to be on these sites (especially when sites like Facebook require giving up so much privacy). At 14, I would come up with a way to have anonymous-type accounts for them that were used only for what was necessary. 

It actually makes me angry and frustrated that the school expects the students to have access.  We have heard from our sons that they are the only ones they know of who don't have open access to basically everything on their iphones and we have pushed back on that because we didn't feel it was appropriate.  They will certainly have open access when they go off to college so we need to have some kind of plan to ease them into it, while hopefully keeping an eye on their online activities. But I would have hoped to ease into it more around the 16 year old timeframe than the 14 year old timeframe (they will be 15 in Sept & Nov).  Now that they are going to public school, I don't want them to feel like odd balls or left out among their friends but I'm not sure how much to allow and how to go about it.

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1 hour ago, lea1 said:

It actually makes me angry and frustrated that the school expects the students to have access.  We have heard from our sons that they are the only ones they know of who don't have open access to basically everything on their iphones and we have pushed back on that because we didn't feel it was appropriate.  They will certainly have open access when they go off to college so we need to have some kind of plan to ease them into it, while hopefully keeping an eye on their online activities. But I would have hoped to ease into it more around the 16 year old timeframe than the 14 year old timeframe (they will be 15 in Sept & Nov).  Now that they are going to public school, I don't want them to feel like odd balls or left out among their friends but I'm not sure how much to allow and how to go about it.


TBH, they probably are the only ones *they know* who don’t have access. Most kids of this generation are digital natives and they have evolved a set of social media guidelines and rules for behavior that kids in my DDs circle generally follow. Obv. There are any number of things kids can get into online but my experience has been that later isn't necessarily better WRT social media decorum b/c the kids will be learning the hard way about things others already know. It’s little things and big, like how to interpret text speak, when is it socially acceptable/necessary to screenshot and share? What behavior requires alerting an adult for guidance/intervention? This is another platform for communication with its own rules. It can be used for good or ill, same as the telephone was used to harrass in my day.

If you have kids that struggle with mental health issues or boundaries it might be worth waiting but for my NT kids, later can make for a bumpier transition. DD was much more willing to listen to my guidance and respect our boundaries and edicts at 12 than she is at 15.5.  I just know how things have worked here and my DD remains an online peacemaker, not at all like mom, lol. That said, my oldest has always had a heart for people.

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I would be super annoyed the school requires social media.  Our district has all social media sites blocked on the grounds.  They use canvas for assignments and announcements.   

We recently let ODD get Facebook she has proven to be very trustworthy.  She had a couple of groups she wanted to join.  The rules are friends with us, we have her login, only friend and message with people you know in real life and she has a time limit.  I'm not to worried about trouble on Facebook because most of the teens have fled it.  

If I was you I would start with the apps they need for school.  If they can follow the rules and it doesn't cause any problems you can add more in a few months 

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3 hours ago, kand said:

Ugh, social media has been a nightmare for my older two (the only ones who have any access to it—20 and 17). My oldest wasn’t even interested until she was about to turn 18, so that was easy, but she has since bounced back and forth between deleting her accounts and going back on. It’s such a sewer of garbage much of the time. We’ve had a number of episodes that have caused her serious mental trauma. 
 

My 17yo is the one who has forever tried to get around parental controls to do things on the computer she wasn’t supposed to. We had good reason to limit her, due to very poor choices each time she gained access. She now has pretty free access, though she doesn’t have the big ones—Facebook, tik tok, Snapchat, or instagram. Interestingly, she shared recently that her experiences in social spaces online have been pretty negative and she thinks we should keep her younger siblings off as long as possible. She has been subject to a lot of bullying via private messages. 
 

So, I think it’s really unfortunate for schools to expect kids to have to be on these sites (especially when sites like Facebook require giving up so much privacy). At 14, I would come up with a way to have anonymous-type accounts for them that were used only for what was necessary. 

I'm seriously trying to find a way to give up social media. I had a Twitter account for a short time. I disliked it, didn't use it much, and it was always getting hacked so I happily deleted my account. Every once in a while I think about getting Snapchat or Instragram, but slap some sense into myself before I do. I mostly use Facebook to keep up with people I know but don't see often. I've realized that FB makes me irritable and some posts just make me lose respect for people I like IRL. There always seems to be some challenge or other bandwagon that everyone thinks they need to jump on or a stupid meme that makes me question whether people have any critical thinking skills or links to "experts" who will prove the poster's conspiracy theory beliefs.  My teen son came to me today and said, "I don't like Facebook. It makes me dislike people, think they're stupid, and wonder if they know anything about history (He LOVES history and studies it all the time.)."  His response was related to people constantly being compared to Nazis and Fascists. The problem I run into every time I try to delete Facebook is that so many groups use it for information that I need, friends use it to communicate important things going on in their lives and then assume everyone knows, and (other than here) it's one of few spaces where I can hear diverse thoughts about what's happening in my community or the world. It's become the town square where we don't have to look at or listen to the people we're talking to and can make it all about us and our beliefs (which are always right, of course).

I agree with your teen that social media has a lot of negatives. I now force myself to log out every time I leave FB so I can't just check in mindlessly all day long. I'm also trying to put limits. Right now I'm trying once a day, but I'd love to only allow myself a once a week check in. Oh, and has anyone ever gone to their account and looked at all the information Facebook keeps on them? I did today and found tons of things in my interest files that aren't interests to me, celebrities in my file that I've never heard of, places I'm interested in that I would never have on my list of top places to visit, and music interests for bands I've never heard of and music styles I dislike. They're compiling tons of data on me and much of it is wrong!

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4 hours ago, Sneezyone said:


TBH, they probably are the only ones *they know* who don’t have access. Most kids of this generation are digital natives and they have evolved a set of social media guidelines and rules for behavior that kids in my DDs circle generally follow. Obv. There are any number of things kids can get into online but my experience has been that later isn't necessarily better WRT social media decorum b/c the kids will be learning the hard way about things others already know. It’s little things and big, like how to interpret text speak, when is it socially acceptable/necessary to screenshot and share? What behavior requires alerting an adult for guidance/intervention? This is another platform for communication with its own rules. It can be used for good or ill, same as the telephone was used to harrass in my day.

If you have kids that struggle with mental health issues or boundaries it might be worth waiting but for my NT kids, later can make for a bumpier transition. DD was much more willing to listen to my guidance and respect our boundaries and edicts at 12 than she is at 15.5.  I just know how things have worked here and my DD remains an online peacemaker, not at all like mom, lol. That said, my oldest has always had a heart for people.

You make some good points.  Thanks for your perspective.

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3 hours ago, rebcoola said:

I would be super annoyed the school requires social media.  Our district has all social media sites blocked on the grounds.  They use canvas for assignments and announcements.   

We recently let ODD get Facebook she has proven to be very trustworthy.  She had a couple of groups she wanted to join.  The rules are friends with us, we have her login, only friend and message with people you know in real life and she has a time limit.  I'm not to worried about trouble on Facebook because most of the teens have fled it.  

If I was you I would start with the apps they need for school.  If they can follow the rules and it doesn't cause any problems you can add more in a few months 

That does sound like a good place to start, thanks.  We could use it as a trial and if they handle it well, they could possibly have others they are wanting....maybe.

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Does anyone have any thoughts about twitter?  I need to research it more.  I have Facebook and Instagram accounts to stay in touch with family and friends.  The only time I use them is when I get an email saying a family member or friend posted something.  Then I will get on and see what they posted.  I also get on Facebook after my birthday and thank family and friends for their best wishes.  That's pretty much all I do on social media.  So I need to research all of them further.

I have always used my laptop to look at these websites and don't even have them on my phone.  I downloaded the Facebook app on my phone today but, for some reason, it receives and error every time I try to log in.  If I am at home it says it can't connect to the internet, which is strange because everything else works find.  If I am not at home it just returns an error code and says try again later.  Not sure what's up with that.

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Twitter is a cesspool, but it's relatively easy to have an account to look at specific things... like, say, to follow your school and that one celeb you like and leave it basically at that. Though that's the issue with all social media. It's good for ___ (what it's good for depends on which platform) but only if you leave it at that. It's hard to do that sometimes for some people, maybe even for most people.

I don't think there's one right answer to this. My teens have access. I check in a lot. The big thing is limiting themselves.

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3 hours ago, Farrar said:

Twitter is a cesspool, but it's relatively easy to have an account to look at specific things... like, say, to follow your school and that one celeb you like and leave it basically at that. Though that's the issue with all social media. It's good for ___ (what it's good for depends on which platform) but only if you leave it at that. It's hard to do that sometimes for some people, maybe even for most people.

I don't think there's one right answer to this. My teens have access. I check in a lot. The big thing is limiting themselves.

How do you check in?  I don't know much about twitter, except for seeing twitter quotes when I read the news.

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I think advice for social media use is one of those “It depends” things. 

I have two teenage boys. Neither of them have Twitter. Only one has FB and that’s because he needed it to join a FB Group related to his college choice. He rarely checks it.

Instagram is another story. Neither of them post much, but they consume a lot. Mostly basketball videos.

We held off on Snapchat way longer than many of their peers. I think they both got it when they were about 15-16. It’s true that their friends did communicate through Snapchat and they did miss out on some conversations/jokes/plans, etc.

I have access to their phones If I want it. 

The issue around here is less about the content and more about the quantity. Social media can be such a time suck. It’s way easier to keep scrolling than it is to get up and DO something (says the middle-aged woman sitting with her iPad while there’s a pile of dishes in the sink...) 

 

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On 6/3/2020 at 12:20 AM, StellaM said:

There are a lot of adults behaving like toddlers on Twitter. 

I can imagine kids following certain scientists/artists etc on Twitter, but a lot of the time the discourse is very unedifying.

Yes, I think this is true of all social media, unfortunately.

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On 6/3/2020 at 6:44 AM, Hyacinth said:

I think advice for social media use is one of those “It depends” things. 

I have two teenage boys. Neither of them have Twitter. Only one has FB and that’s because he needed it to join a FB Group related to his college choice. He rarely checks it.

Instagram is another story. Neither of them post much, but they consume a lot. Mostly basketball videos.

We held off on Snapchat way longer than many of their peers. I think they both got it when they were about 15-16. It’s true that their friends did communicate through Snapchat and they did miss out on some conversations/jokes/plans, etc.

I have access to their phones If I want it. 

The issue around here is less about the content and more about the quantity. Social media can be such a time suck. It’s way easier to keep scrolling than it is to get up and DO something (says the middle-aged woman sitting with her iPad while there’s a pile of dishes in the sink...) 

 

I have access to my sons' phones if I want it also.  You raise some good points.  I think we will wade into these waters slowly:).

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5 hours ago, StellaM said:

There is some very nasty stuff on Twitter, that I haven't seen/don't see as much elsewhere. 

For example, 'non-practicing' pedophile accounts, threats of violence towards women etc. 

 

oh my, that is very nasty.  Thanks for the warning.

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