Quite a few years ago, I came up with some Social Media Guidelines, primarily geared towards businesses. I realized I also seem to write a lot of tips and recommendations for parents on how they can help their kids with social media. That got me thinking. Perhaps, I should come up with a social media policy for families (kids and their parents).
Below are some ideas, rules and discussion points that you might want to implement with your children as they embark down the path of social media. Of course, you can and should pick the ones that are the most appropriate for you and craft some that are specific to your family values (e.g., “you will not do social media at all until you have your own job and even then, I will be watching”).
These “policies,” guidelines and promises are divided between parents and children. There is some overlap. And honestly, I feel sometimes the best way to approach this is with some humor!
Social Media Policy & Guidelines for Families
For Parents to Kids:
- If I pay the bill for your smartphone, I have access to it whenever I want. Don’t try to hide it from me, I will either find it or disconnect it!
- If you pay the bill for your smartphone, please don’t let me regret having you as a child. “I brought you into this world, I can take you out.” – Bill Cosby (and others)
- If you want to be on social media, be prepared to answer my “who,” “what,” “where,” “why,” and “how” questions. I expect a 1000 word essay on each of these.
- If you try to hide it from me, I will find out. And I will ban you from anything electronic and lock you in a castle tower on the moon.
- If you don’t want me as a “social friend,” you will need to show me how you are using it. I don’t want to be your friend anyway, I’m your parent.
- I will not embarrass you unless you break our social media rules and then you will be thoroughly humiliated…publicly! Think standing on a corner with a sign.
- I will not be a helicopter parent when it comes to social media. I will only spy on you when you aren’t looking.
- If I tell you to remove something, you will do it, but I will explain why I’m asking you to remove it. If you post it again, I will post you to your room without any gadgets at all.
- I will try to answer all of your questions. Remember though, I didn’t invent social media nor do I have any control over the idiots on it.
For Kids to Parents:
- I will not repeatedly bug you about getting on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, ___fill_in_social_network_here____. I understand that the more I ask, the less likely you will listen to me.
- I will not share locations or questionable pictures. I’m not a celebrity nor do I want a future school or employer seeing me drunk and passed out with Sharpie drawings on my body.
- I understand that social media and sharing can be dangerous. Once you share something, consider it etched into Mt. Rushmore.
- I will ask you questions if I’m not sure what I should share or how I should share it. You are the expert, I’m am the child. While I might know more about social media than you do, you are my parent and do have a little more experience in life than I do.
- I will not post things that make me (or you) look stupid. “Stupid is as stupid does.” – Forrest Gump
- I will not forget that what I post now might be seen by a school, adult or employer in the coming years. Living for today is great, but I will plan for my future as well and hope that you don’t have to bail me out of an awkward situation…or jail.
- I will not spend all of my waking hours on social media. I know it’s cool and all the cool kids are doing it, but I’ve heard your “if everyone was jumping off a cliff” story just one too many times.
- I will do all of my homework, chores and other required activities before I spend time on social media. I don’t think that McDonald’s allows you to tweet while at work so if I flunk out of school, I won’t be tweeting much from the Golden Arches.
- I understand that many social media services require me to be 13 or older. So I will not forge my birth certificate or make a fake ID for this or any other purpose.
- I will tell you what social networks I’m on and my crazy screen name. And I promise not to have multiple personalities like “DayAngel” and “NightDevil.”
- If possible, I will keep my accounts private and only have friends that I know unless I convince you via a 1000 word business case.
- I will listen to your advice without (too much) argument. You are smarter and have more experience than me (at least for now).
What would you add to the Social Media Policy for Families list? What would you take off? Do you have any social media adventures that you have experienced with your children? Do you even allow them on social media? Let me know in the comments below!
HTD says: Get your Social Media policy inked up now for your family!