October 18 - 31, 2014
Moderation governs rules of teen use of social media BY LYNETTE CARRINGTON
Parents of teenagers may ﬁnd themselves questioning how much social media usage by their child is appropriate. Chandler mother of three, Stasy Click, admits to being a little more cautious than some parents when it comes to social media. The lawyer says each of her teens— Brandon, Alyssa and Lauren—uses social media a bit differently, and she has been paying attention. “Probably within the last two or three years I noticed they were looking at it constantly,” explains Click, a lawyer who is a former prosecutor and ex-child-crimes prosecutor. “It was a source of distraction everywhere.” She was concerned, but also understands it is a part of this generation and considers how her teens are different with their social media usage. According to www. commonsensemedia.org, nine out of 10 teens use social media daily. Although Facebook and Twitter remain popular among teens, Instagram and Snapchat are gaining a large share of teens, too. Teens are using social media on mobile devices, giving them access at almost any time. A clinical therapist with Bayless Healthcare Group, Hannah Carr works with teens and their families. She offers guidelines to help parents establish boundaries when it comes to teens and social media. “I think it starts with a conversation between the parents and the teen,” Carr says. “The teen has to be following through
with their responsibilities at school and at home, and making sure the time they are on social media is a time that’s been agreed upon with the parents. I don’t think there’s necessarily an appropriate amount of time on social media.” Carr also suggests that parents keep an open line of communication with their teens so they can discuss various social media issues as they arise. “On average, parents spend 20 minutes a week, if that, talking with their kids, just in general about whatever—only 20 minutes a week,” she notes. “In regard to social media, the more that they have open communication with their kids, the more they will likely be able to trust them to be safe on social media.” Understanding children’s maturity level is important for parents so they can properly gauge if their kids will act appropriately on various social media platforms. Discussing what is appropriate can be tough. “Conversations need to start before parents even allow their teens to have social media accounts. Saying, ‘This is why I think it’s important for you to not post pictures of yourself this way. Or just being able to talk about how you value yourself and what are you going to be putting out there for other people to see,’” Carr explains. Parents should also have access to teens’ accounts to ensure safety. “Parents need to be able to tell their teen, ‘I do have a right to see who you are
SOCIAL MEDIA: Lawyer Stasy Click ﬁnds her daughter Lauren’s use of social media acceptable. Submitted photo
talking with so I know you’re being safe.’” Click’s daughter, Lauren, a Corona del Sol High School senior, knows how much she uses her Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram accounts. “It’s deﬁnitely on and off, and I don’t scroll through it for hours,” Lauren says. “I probably go through it ﬁve minutes every two hours.” Lauren uses Twitter to connect with friends, Instagram to get a look at what is going on in the world and Tumblr for poetry, writing and artwork. “I think sometimes social media can be seen as a waste of time or a way to hurt others, but it depends how you use it,” Lauren says. She has even turned her social media use into a job.
“I work as a social media coordinator for the Phoenix Film Festival,” she says. With the inspiration she is getting from Instagram and Tumblr, she will soon be launching an online vintageinspired trinket store called West Coast Assortment. “For Lauren, it’s ﬁne...Her interest is in marketing and speciﬁcally social media marketing,” explains Click of Lauren’s social media usage. “I think because it’s her business focus and what her business interests are, I’m ﬁne with it. If it was my other kids, I’d probably be a little more concerned.” Lynette Carrington is a freelancer for the SanTan Sun News. She can be contacted at email@example.com.