Tips For Keeping Teens Safe On Social Media

The Guidance Department at the John Glenn Middle School know that social media is beginning to play a very big role in our students’ lives. With summer vacation right around the corner, Guidance shares some tips/advice on how to keep your kids safe online and use social media appropriately. Limiting and monitoring your child’s “screen time” on ALL devices is extremely important for continued brain development and overall adolescent wellness. Peer connections face to face are extremely important for building self esteem, a positive sense of self and promoting strong interpersonal communication skills needed for their current and future adult lives.

As always, JGMS hopes that you feel comfortable contacting your child’s Guidance Counselor with any questions or concerns you may have or to seek additional resources.

  • Create ground rules around phones and devices:
  • Phones are shut off by a certain time
  • Remember who is paying the bill and who is in charge
  • Discuss who has passwords (parent) to devices and ensure that you are monitoring the appropriateness of application downloads. 2
  • Have a conversation with your student/child about how they want to be perceived online and on social media. Reputations are hard to change and it is very important to be aware of what your child’s “footprint” is in the online community.
  • Set a good example for your child with your own social media and device use.

Keep an open dialogue with your children. Ask them to let you know if they’ve received private messages from a stranger, or from someone at school who is teasing, harassing, threatening or requesting inappropriate photographs from them. Those could be signs of cyber-bullying or even a sexual predator. You would be surprised that even students’ friends will send or request photos of a sexual nature.

How Common Is Sexting? It’s hard to know exactly how common sexting is among teens. Studies have found that about 1 out of every 5 to 10 teens — guys and girls — have sent sexually suggestive pictures. And about 1 out of every 3 to 8 teens have received them. The studies focused mainly on pictures, not sexually suggestive comments, messages, or tweets. The percentage of teens involved in sexting goes up if written sexual content is included, but it’s not clear by how much. But one thing is clear: Sexting is relatively common among teens.

Get additional online safety tips and other relevant information on OnGuardOnline.gov, a great government resource for parents and teens. Netsmartz.org is another website for parents and teens to utilize.

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