When 14-year-old Lizzy Greene first began working on the Nickelodeon hit, Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn, she didn’t even think of having social media.
“Originally, I never planned on getting on social media until a cast member told me that I should get on Instagram or Twitter so fans could follow me,” says Greene.
Today, after four seasons playing Dawn Harper on the hit show, Greene’s following is in the millions.
Like many teens, social media plays an important role in Greene’s life. It’s a place where Greene cannot only promote her career but it’s also a venue where she can connect with fans and share her days as a normal teen. But, like many teens, social media has also been a place where Greene has experienced negativity and bullying—something she has found overwhelming at times.
“It just starts to suck you in where it becomes unhealthy, and I’ve had to take many breaks from it,” she says. “I’ve gotten caught up in that before. I was focusing too much on it because of cyber-bullying and everything.”
To combat and avoid online negativity, Greene involves her mom in her social media life, often giving her images to post on her behalf. In fact, she says she thinks more parents should get involved in their teens’ media feeds. Here’s why.
Staying safe on social
While Greene says social media is great for staying in touch with family, friends and fans, she says she’s cautious about opening up any private messages.
“I stay away from those because those can be scary,” she says. “There could be somebody who could be posing as a young child, but in real life they’re much older. So I think it’s really important not to create such personal relationships with people that you don’t know.”
In fact, when it comes to online safety, Greene says teens need to be aware of online predators, trolls and bullies.
“If you don’t know someone online, don’t answer it. It’s the safest way to handle it all because if you don’t know somebody you really shouldn’t be talking with them or giving out your personal information. It’s all about keeping safe; it’s not about keeping you from having fun. Social media should not be used to bully or be mean to others, but unfortunately there are people that use it to bring harm to people. It should be used to build people up and form healthy connections and relationships.”
While Greene may be a public figure, she admits she cannot and will not post anything without her mother’s permission.
“That may sound a little lame,” she laughs. “But I’m not allowed to post anything without running it by her because she wants to make sure I’m not posting anything that’s not age-appropriate. I feel like that’s where teens get in trouble sometimes. Some kids get social media and they don’t run their posts by their parents and then problems start to happen.”
Greene admits while she first found it annoying that her mom needed to know all her passwords and have full access to her social accounts, today she is thankful for it. In fact, she thinks more parents should do the same for their own teens.
“Looking at it from the big picture, it is the right thing to do,” says Greene. “Coming from a parent’s perspective, they’re older, they know more than you and they’ll be able to help. I feel like everybody should have that second opinion from his or her parents. I know, for myself, if my mom is happy, then I’m happy.”