• Have your kids agree to tell you if they receive any inappropriate or threatening messages.

The possibility exists that your child will receive uninvited, inappropriate or threatening messages from others. So, set the expectation that you need to know if this occurs, so that you can deal with these messages.

• Set clear expectations about cell phone use.

These expectations should include all issues associated with today's cell phones, from when it's okay to talk on their cell phone, to texting, to taking and distributing photos and videos. Tell your kids that if they should receive inappropriate photographs from others, you expect them to notify you.

• Set clear expectations about video websites.

Your kids need to know what you expect when it comes to visiting social media sites such as YouTube. Determine what types of video they can view and which ones they cannot. Understand that you probably won't be able to tell what videos they've watched, particularly if they access video through their phone or when they are away from home with their friends. So, if you set clear expectations, at least your kids will have to make a choice knowing where you stand. Make sure they know that should they come across video of a pornographic nature, that you're willing to talk it over with them.

• Follow Through With Consistent Discipline.

Kids need consistent discipline from their parents in order to both survive and thrive. That means clearly defined limits, expectations and consequences clearly articulated to the children by the parents in ways that all involved parties understand. If your kids violate your boundaries, it's key to follow through consistently with the agreed upon consequences.

Social media is here to stay. How your child consumes it can impact her or his life for better or for worse. Be proactive by providing loving guidance and discipline. And, be sure to throw in good measures of patience and grace. In doing these things, you'll be helping your child grow into a mature and responsible adult.

October 28, 2009


[i] Source: eMarketer


[ii] Source: Wikipedia


[iii] Source: Alexa


[iv] Online Predators: Separating Fact and Fiction by Jim Liebelt

Source: Crosswalk


Jim Burns, Ph.D., founded HomeWord and hosts the radio program HomeWord with Jim Burns. The author of many resources, including Creating an Intimate Marriage and Parenting Teenagers for Positive Results, he has also won three Gold Medallion Awards. Jim holds degrees from Azusa Pacific University, Princeton Theological Seminary, and Greenwich School of Theology.