Tools for Your Tool Box

Read what the founder of KNB Communications, Kristi Bush, has to say about empowering your teens through the use of social media:

When navigating social media we can sometimes feel...well...ill-equipped. Take a look at these numbers...There are more than 7.7 billion people on earth; 4.4 billion people on the internet. Of those 4.4 billion people, 3.5 billion people use social media. Those numbers start with a B, not an M! The average internet user has at least 7 social media accounts. That is a lot of information and a lot of people...and A LOT of content.

One can only imagine how many of those users are children and teens. So I put together a few tools for your tool box – rules to refer to when you are feeling stuck or overwhelmed. Some of them may seem ridiculously simple. But this is on purpose! Navigating social media is hard...the rules to keep our children as safe as possible shouldn't be!

So here goes:

  1. Conversations Versus Confrontations: This should always be our first go to. This is also your very best line of defense. Nothing is better at monitoring and protecting your children than continuing a supportive, open line of communication. This does not mean void of consequences for bad behavior. It simply means we need to work to talk more and confront less. Have conversations about appropriate and inappropriate online behavior. From them and from others. (Devices should always be set to age restriction/age-appropriate settings)
  2. Notice the Little Things: If they are showing you ridiculous videos that make your face cave in, watch them. If you think your ears will bleed from listening to one more cringe-worthy song or noises from their favorite platform, listen. This is them letting you in their world. Embrace it. It opens doors for bigger things when that time comes.
  3. Do Random Phone Checks: Weekly. Randomly. In front of your kid. With your kid. Refrain from the language such as “I am sneaking my child's phone, or I am spying on my child.” This language sets up a feeling of distrust. Instead, you are looking at, reviewing with, and monitoring your child's device use. For their safety. Use this language with them. Let them know you are checking. You are NOT invading their privacy.
  4. Model Good Device Behavior: Our children watch us. They notice if we are on the phone or computer all of the time. They notice when we are paying attention to our devices and not them. They notice if we are on inappropriate platforms. They pay attention to what we are saying on social media. We are their best guide. We want to be good leaders so they will have good role models.
  5. Moderation With Observation: Children and teens should not have access to devices that are not monitored for time and content. So a good rule is to allow device time within moderate limits. Then observe the time and how they are using the device. Social media is here to stay. Instilling in our children good online habits are incredibly important. But they need our guidance.

You may notice that I did not mention the latest, biggest, best app monitoring system or the latest “program.” These five simple rules have proven time and time again to be the best way to establish a positive, open relationship with your child...while also protecting them from online pitfalls.

If we want our children to grow up safe, knowledgeable, and capable in the online space...we must teach them the tools they will need. We must help to instill the behaviors that are so important in keeping them safe. Monitoring apps, while they have their place, are reactive. And they do not keep a child from seeing or doing anything. We want to instill the strength and courage to make the right decisions, without an app monitoring their behavior.

I hope this has been helpful. And if you ever should have a question, as always, I am here...

- Kristi