Several weeks ago, I wrote about my son’s request to get Snapchat. Fast forward a few weeks and he will finally begin his social media journey at the age of 11.
After several conversations with my son and my ex, we have decided he can join Instagram. Presumably, he will use it to stay in touch with friends over the summer when he is with my ex. Also, he will (with his mom’s or my approval) follow some sports figures or other public figures on Instagram.
I found two great resources to help through this process. First, Common Sense Media has a great post detailing the various issues associated with the various social media programs. While you should always check for updates to these apps and see what new features they might offer, Common Sense Media gives a detailed set of concerns and solutions.
Second, I found a “social media contract” online so I would not have to recreate the wheel. iMom has a comprehensive contract you can easily download and print out for your kids to sign. If it does not cover all the bases (like getting approval before following someone), you can easily add an addendum or hand write it in the margins.
His mom and I discussed the consequences should our son violate the contract, and we will add those. In case you are wondering, he loses privileges for various lengths of time…and might lose the entire app if he gets three strikes.
Both I and my ex will have full access to his account and to his iPod Touch. So far, we have no reason to have concerns, and this first step into social media will be instructive to us as coparents.
Personally, I do not participate in Instagram, but I might join so I can follow my son!
At what age did you let your kids engage in social media? What has been the biggest lesson learned?