What Can I Do to Make My Teenager Stop Using Social Media in an Inappropriate Manner?

If you’re concerned about what your child posts on social media, you’re not the only one. Here are some pointers for approaching them about it.

As I’m sure you’re already aware, lecturing teenagers doesn’t work. In order to have a fruitful discussion, you should be well-prepared and open to hearing what she has to say.

You can begin by inquiring about her decision-making process rather than focusing on the image she has of not thinking at all. Even if her definition of “excellent judgment” differs from yours, it could be instructive to see how she makes her decisions.

Inquire about her grasp of online safety, particularly the dangers of sharing provocative selfies online. Knowing what she’s taken in and what she’s thrown out at this point is important because she’s likely heard it all. Let her get it out before bringing up your own issues with her.

Keep an eye on the prize. How important is her future, and has she thought about how her posts now could jeopardize it in 10 years? If you can connect it to an important life objective, it may resonate more with teenagers who enjoy living in the moment. For example, does she aspire to attend a particular university or land a job at a reputable company one day? Educate her on the fact that school administrators and potential employers are keeping tabs on her social media accounts. Think about how people would perceive you if they Googled you.

Promote Self-Monitoring Methods of Care

We hope that by having this conversation, your daughter will be more inclined to think about how she decides what she puts on social media. The “front yard” test: “Would you be OK with each post, remark, or like being on a giant sign in your front yard?” is a good method.

Using the THINK method is a good rule of thumb: Is your post or comment characterized by any of the following:

Truthfulness, Helpfulness, Inspiration, Necessity, and Kindness? If it’s not hazardous, it’s “H” for “helping.” Many adults could benefit from these tactics (I’m sure we can all think of a few!)

To protect your personal safety, go over each app’s privacy settings with her and make your own recommendations.

Make Sure You Don’t Overestimate Yourself.

You may want to do a self-check as well as your daughter while you go through all of this. What do you mean by “inappropriate” and what worries you about it? Are you concerned about your daughter’s social media use, or do you simply find it difficult to relate to her?

We’re able to observe so much of what teenagers are doing on social media because of its widespread use. In place of long-distance phone calls that stretched on for hours, we now have public dialogues. The speaker bears the brunt of the blame, but it’s also an unjust perspective on their daily encounters. Defining “inappropriate” and clarifying your expectations for more proper behavior may help. The “stupid” comment spoken to a friend may be age-appropriate, but it may also be hurtful and nasty.

Self-reliance should be taught.

Two years away from legal adulthood and presumably in the “my parents don’t understand” phase, your daughter may not be as open to your advice as you’d want. Teenagers don’t respond to fear-based messaging, but they are more likely to respond to messages about how they’re being deceived (like the cigarette business) or about the bad social implications of their actions. Parents who warn their children not to smoke or use drugs are really increasing the likelihood of their children doing so. Instead, messages that focus on the potential loss of adolescent agency perform substantially better.

Focus on your daughter’s agency and self-determination by using what we’ve learned from anti-smoking and anti-drug programs. It’s human nature to assume that our children’s misbehavior justifies a reduction in their liberties, but that’s not how it works.

Your daughter’s integrity and future should be protected by encouraging her to accept responsibility for her social media use. In an effort to encourage her to take more control over her social media use, remind her that social media apps are profiting from her use and are designed to be addictive.

To Sum It Up

No matter how much we long for a simpler era, it appears that social media is here to stay. Our adolescents’ online presence may have bigger stakes, but it’s just another opportunity to help them develop important life skills like decision-making, good judgment, and raising their level of independence. The truth is, she has complete control over her digital domain and will continue to do so for the rest of her online existence. When it comes to your daughter’s online presence, it’s best if you listen to her first and then work together to develop a strategy that is both responsible and considerate.