Social Media Safety for Teens | Parent Guide

Protecting Teens on Social Media

Raising a teenager is no picnic! On one hand, you want to respect boundaries and give your growing child the freedom to make—and learn from—their own mistakes. On the other hand, you want to do everything in your power to protect your child from… well, everything.

(This article is directed at parents. Teens, read what you can do for your social media safety).

When it comes to online safety, social media has its’ own unique set of problems for teenagers… and it can go far beyond the online predator horror stories. That’s why it’s important as a parent to be involved with your teens’ online activity and guided in how to have a healthy relationship with social media.

Social Media Safety for Teens

Not every parent is active on social media

If your teen is using social media… that is a good reason why you should be too. Even if you don’t use social media actively, you should be friends with your teen so you can routinely check and see their posts. Not only will this give you a chance to see what’s really going on in their mind (because social media brings out a passive aggressive behavior in everyone) but you can also recognize inappropriate behavior or posts, such as posting personal information.  Also, teens are especially likely to express their problems on social media instead of facing them at home.

That being said, there is away to keep tabs on your kid’s social media use without ever going online.  Through parental control software, parents can monitor and restrict the use of social media apps.

Most teenagers go to social media sites their parents are not using

Most parents are surprised to learn that their child has social media accounts on sites they probably didn’t even know about. Talk to your child and make sure you know every site they are using and how those sites are used.

Every once in a while, Google the “top social media sites for teens”.  This will keep you informed about the latest trends.

Practical Privacy

Keep computers in a “public” location, rather than in their bedroom. At your discretion, it may be a good idea to routinely check computer and phone history and require that you know the passwords to all of your teen’s accounts… but keep in mind that infringing on their right to privacy may only push them further away.

In a nutshell, trust your child enough to give them leash and don’t violate their privacy without justifiable cause. However, maintain the ability to check up on your teen if they begin to show suspicious behavior. This can be achieved through an internet monitoring app.

Educate yourself and your teen about the privacy settings available on any social media app.

Here is a list of top social media sites with links to their privacy settings:

And remember, privacy is not only important to protect teens about online harassment.  Social media scams are on the rise. Cybercriminals gathering information from un-private social media accounts to target all of us with scam emails, texts, and videos.  Strong passwords and multi-factor verification methods are key to protecting personal data.


Parents who openly communicate with their children are more likely to receive the same approach in response. It is critical that your teenager feel safe in talking to you, because fear of punishment can result in isolated or rebellious behavior.

During the difficult teenage years, your child will want to test boundaries. They will want to do and say things that you would not approve of. This is basic human nature. It’s important that you understand and respect this, while letting them know they can talk to you about anything.

At the same time, you should lead by example and initiate those difficult discussions with your teen. Have a deeper conversation about how social media can effect their health and wellness, including issues such as body image.  Even if you only get one-word responses when asking questions, they are still listening… and it establishes a comfortable environment for open communication in your home.

It is also important to have a discussion about cell phone safety, where kids can access social media site with ease and outside the watchful eye of parents. This raises issues of cell phone safety.

Final Thoughts

Establishing boundaries, rules, and guidelines can be applied to behaviors that are allowed on social media… as well as the amount of time allowed to spend on social media.

Internet safety is about so much more than online predators or identity theft, there are mental health and wellness issues that isolate a teen that appears to be thriving online.

Even parents can make mistakes on social media.  For example, posting about an upcoming vacation can open your home up to being a potential target by thieves.

Keep up to date on tricks and trends. Stay informed about cyberbullying and check with your child regularly about problems they may be having.  Talk to teachers to see if they are noticing any unusual behavior in your teen.   Work to keep your child safe digitally, physically and mentality.  We hope this article helped.

Continued Reading:

For younger children, explore social media safety tips for kids.

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