What Are Healthy Online and Social Media Guidelines for Children?

Social media guidelines for children are important for parents to establish early on in the home. 

The brain doesn’t fully develop until age 25. Throughout your child’s teenage and adolescent years, it’s important to help them protect their brain from potential harm. 

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Some threats come in the form of alcohol, drugs, pornography and yes, even social media. 

Social media alters the brain in its own unique, addictive way. To give your children the best chance at success, you should facilitate healthy habits that lead to better reasoning and critical thinking skills.

You don’t need to eliminate social media from their lives, however. Instead, talk to your children and create healthy limits. Below are some good places to start. 

1. Put a Time Limit on Electronics

Social media can become addictive. It also shortens our attention span and ability to consume information. 

Discuss with your children what a healthy amount of time looks like to them and then develop your own rule. Avoid allowing your child to use their phone in bed, as they can be up for hours past their bedtime online, sometimes without even realizing it. 

Your child needs as much sleep as they can get, and social media can eat into their precious rest. 

2. Treat it as a Reward

For some children, using social media may seem like a right. However, help your child see that it’s a privilege, especially on school nights. 

Time passes by quickly on social media. Encouraging your child to complete their responsibilities first will help them learn time-management skills. 

3. Regulate the Content

One of the biggest concerns with social media isn’t that it’s addictive, but that it can be downright dangerous. 

Sexual predators use social media to find easy targets. This outlet also has the potential to facilitate cyber bullying and open the door to pornography issues. 

Teach your child how to be careful about what they post and say online. Explain the dangers of public profiles and create rules on what they can and can’t post. 

4. Avoid Secrets

Lastly, as a parent, you have the right to monitor their accounts. This can be helpful in identifying problems before they escalate. 

Studies have shown that children who use social media more are more likely to feel depressed and insecure. Watch for the warning signs and be willing to intervene. 

An important part of creating social media guidelines for children is that they understand what is OK for them to indulge in and what isn’t. Don’t expect them to read your mind. Instead, come up with rules together. 

Social Media Guidelines for Children

Still need help figuring out social media guidelines for children? Come to our office. Our pediatricians can help you determine what is best for your children. We’ll also help you recognize some of the warning signs of addiction to pornography, social media, gaming and more.