A friend recently ended a fun night at a neighbor's home with a rousing sing along to Billy Joel's "Piano Man," complete with swaying because really, is there any other way? The next morning, my friend received a text about her exuberant performance from a relative. She was confused. How did the relative know what happened 12 hours ago?
The relative explained that, unbeknownst to my friend, my friend's teen daughter had taken a video and shared it on Snapchat.
My friend was not happy. She never even knew she was being taped. What she thought was a private moment among friends was now available for public consumption.
I sent my daughter a text on Monday. It was harmless (actually, it was even nice) but I was surprised to see a screen shot of it show up on Instagram yesterday.
I expressed some surprise given that it felt like a personal conversation had been broadcast
to the world the 70 friends on her finsta account. My husband felt differently, noting that's pretty common and expected. (You now know who has been monitoring her account lately.)
Here's your PSA for the day: Talk with your tweens and teens about what is okay to share online when it comes to you. That conversation may just spare you from an awkward conversation with a relative about your favorite karaoke selections or, in my case, texting typos.
If you don't want them sharing video or images of you at all, make that clear.
If you want to see images or video before they're shared, set that expectation.
If you prefer that they not share texts with the world, tell them.
Remind your tweens and teens that it's always important to check with anyone, even their friends, before sharing pictures of them or information from them online.
It's the polite thing to do. Beyond good etiquette, it reminds kids that not everything needs to be shared. Even in this social media heavy world, there are some events, images, and sentiments that are meant to be private. (Yes, sometimes it happened, even if there aren't pics.)
The impulse to hit click and hit send is strong, and it takes just as split second. Teach kids to stop and think about the possible ramifications, as well as the feelings of the people involved. Doing so will serve them well not just when it comes to social media but in pretty much all decisions.
Adolescents need to know that people, their boundaries, and their privacy all deserve respect from others, including friends and family. Especially from friends and family. That respect is an important part of solid relationships.
Parents should also model the same respect for their kids. Ask before you post or share photos of them, too, and show them the same respect. Even on Snapchat, the Golden Rule applies.
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