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Parenting your teens online: Are you checking up on them?

Are you checking up your child's social media accounts?

Are you checking up your child’s social media accounts?

I admit it, I check up on my children online.  And if you’re not, then you should.  Not because you are trying to catch them in a lie or spy on what pictures they are posting. Okay you should look for that too, but check up on them with another prospective in mind, to protect them. Yup, I said it, check up on them for their own protection. And I’m not even talking about all the bullying that can occur online. That’s a whole other discussion.  I’m talking about their future job prospects and/or college ambitions.

With more and more colleges as well as employers checking online social websites before hiring employees, the need to watch what you post is more and more eminent. Kids and teens don’t know what ramifications lie ahead for them when posting inappropriate things online.  Heck, many adults out there are posting pictures that border on poor judgment, so how the heck are our kids supposed to figure out what’s appropriate or not?  We all know colleges and employers alike are checking social websites before accepting them, so why aren’t we checking them as well?

If you have a tween or teen on social media sites, hopefully you already have the basics covered:

  1. Log in and passwords for your child’s accounts
  2. Know what sites they are on – they change every week and as of this hour some favorites are Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine. If you’re only checking their Facebook account, you’re behind the times.
  3. Tell them you will be checking their account periodically.
  4. Ask them to remove pictures or comments that aren’t appropriate.
  5. Discuss with them why it’s important for them to look at what they post.
  6. Think like an employer, would you hire your child after seeing their comments and pictures? Think like a college admissions advisor, do you want this teen representing your college or university?

It’s a fact, social media is here to stay and it’s for all to see. Make sure your kids understand this! Protect your kids as best you can (without stalking them) and next time you log into your own social media account, check your own pictures and comments.  Are you leading by example? I think we all know those moms that check their child’s account a little too much.  Try not to take this to extremes since you are trying to build trust with your child and guide them.  Don’t become a cyber-stalker and become involved the drama that can sometimes accompany teens in junior high or high school.

Obviously as your child gets older towards the adult age of 18, the fine line narrows and parents have to let their children make their own decisions. But I believe it’s the guidance that we give them in their tween and teen years that will help them make good decisions for their future.  As the parent, look for things that can damage your child’s future.  It’s your duty as an adult and a parent because colleges and job employers are looking online, make sure you are too.


This post is sponsored by:

bike-land-150x150The Brett Saks Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, hopes  to make our Arizona communities safer for bicyclists by teaching adults and children about road safety and mutual respect between drivers and cyclists in fun and engaging ways. We are “Shifting Gears to Saves Lives,” as more than 600 cyclists are lost each year to car-bike accidents. Learn more at


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