Athens Oconee Parent Magazine Dec2018

Page 12


socialmedia By Liz Conroy

Keeping Up With Teens


dolescent brains are not fully developed. Impulsive and risk-taking behavior occur more frequently; wisdom and caution come later. When teens use social media, they may forget that what they post can follow them for years to come. Ted Futris, associate professor and extension specialist in UGA’s Dept. of Human Development and Family Science, is the father of a 13-year-old and 16-year-old. He understands what it’s like to have teens launching into social media.

“Being involved in your child’s life means knowing who your kid’s friends are because you want them to be safe. It also means being involved in their social media life.”

Social media use is tougher to monitor than knowing your child’s companions in person. Futris points out social media use can be done privately, so your adolescent may announce, “This is mine; it’s not your business.” Actually, it IS the parents’ business. “Parents need to share with their teens that they care about what’s going on in their lives, online or out in the world, because they care about their safety.” He recommends open and frequent talks about social media use. “It’s best to have a discussion about setting clear ground rules on social media use, similar to the family rules about going out, going to bed, and curfews.” The conversation begins with basics. For example, talk about when children can be online and when it’s time to for all electronics to be turned off. This allows time for the brain to calm down before bed and gives the eyes rest from bright screens. Futris says the job of the parent is to set clear and fair limits to keep children safe, although youngsters may protest. Futris recommends setting boundaries early for any child using social media, especially on posting videos and photos. Adolescents need serious talks with adults about the 12 Athens-Oconee Parent

Noah, 13, and Nicholas Futris, 16, represent the modern meaning of “social” as they focus on social media at home.

reality that whatever they post online will stay online and can hurt them later. He recalls that he had to step in when his older son took a video of his younger brother showing some silly behavior. Futris told him that the video could not be posted and needed to be deleted from the device. “Something posted may seem funny now, but you never know who may look at it,” he says. “With Snapchat, someone can take a quick screen shot of it before it disappears, and it is there forever.” For example, in the future, college and job interviews may go well initially but then go downhill depending on what the interviewers find online. “They can google you and see what pops up with your name

RESOURCES • The Accidental Bully • Think What’s Next PL6B2DED86929BF82B) • Watch what you tweet: how social media can affect college admissions https:// kids-social-media-college-admissions/ index.html

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