October 2021

10 Ways to Keep Your Teen Safe on Social Media Kids are spending more and more time on social media these days. With that comes potential dangers like cyberbullying, exposure to questionable material and increased screentime. It’s not that social media needs to be off-limits to kids and teenagers, but there definitely needs to be some parental supervision and guidelines set to ensure your kids are staying safe. How can parents best achieve this? Dr. Fumi Stephanie Hancock, PsychDNP, is the CEO of POB Psychiatric Health and a bestselling author of 24 self-help books. She says nowadays in her practice, more parents are expressing concerns to her about the impact of social media on their children’s mental health. So, what can parents do? Dr. Hancock offers these 10 tips. Keep it in Perspective It can be tough for all of us when we compare ourselves to others. This is especially true for children and teens. At this critical and impressionable age, many young people feel devastated because they don’t feel that they measure up with others. Social media can magnify this feeling. Not only are they seeing the wonderful things that people they know are doing, but also seeing kids the same age from around the entire world seemingly living thrilling lives of adventure. Make sure that you help put all of this into perspective. First, everyone is different and individual. You can only be yourself and being yourself is awesome! Second, what you are seeing online is usually not anything like real life. You might be seeing one photo taken completely out of context with filters and maybe even photoshopped backgrounds. An online photo reveals nothing about how happy that person is or what problems they may have. Learn to regard social media as little more than a pleasant distraction, not the standard that everyone should live by. Practice What You Preach If you don’t want your kids to become overly involved with social media, start by setting a good example. Even if you are the last one to know, kids emulate their parents. If they see you on your phone for hours at a time or if you always need to keep your followers up to date on every action you take, don’t be surprised if your children want to follow in your footsteps. Be the Guardian at the Gate Trust is important for families, but there are too many threats online to simply take your children’s word for