How To Teach Your Kid About Social Media Boundaries

We all know by now that social media has its pros and cons, especially where children are concerned. It can be great fun, giving kids opportunities to share their lives and interests with other people online. Not only is it a great tool for communication, but it's an entertainment source for young minds. On social media apps like TikTok and Instagram, kids share photos, make reels, and post videos of themselves dancing and singing.

However, social media has its downsides, as it can lead to cyberbullying, affect one's mental health, and influence children a bit too much. For example, TikTok challenges that encourage kids to participate in dangerous activities are going viral, including the tooth filing challenge, which has people using nail files on their teeth to get even smiles (via the New York Post). This challenge is so dangerous that dentists around the globe started posting on TikTok to warn youngsters against it, explaining that it can cause permanent dental damage.

So, it's clear that parents need to set social media boundaries for their children to keep them safe — whether they like it or not. Here's how.

When setting social media boundaries, being open with your kids is key

Setting boundaries involves explaining the dynamics of social media to children so they can be safe and aware of themselves online while still having fun. They need to know that their online actions have real-life consequences, from affecting future employment opportunities to making themselves vulnerable to strangers.

During these conversations, it's important to communicate with children in a way that makes them feel safe and encourages them to be open and honest, according to Thrive Global. Don't lecture them or talk down to them, which could push them to hide things from you, falsify their age online, or create alternate accounts without your knowledge, per Family App

For parents to effectively teach their kids social media boundaries, adults need to be familiar with the social media world and keep up with the trends as much as possible, per Thrive Global. Learn the privacy options for various platforms so you know whether your child's information is public and how it will be used. Depending on the child's age, you may want to fully or partially monitor their online activity; either way, be open with them about this so they don't feel violated.

Finally, setting a good example for kids to follow is crucial, according to The Online Mom. This can involve everything from how you communicate with others online since your kids might see it (read: don't go fighting with strangers in the comments on Facebook) to limiting your own screen time and making sure to spend quality time with them daily so that they follow suit.