Tag Archives: social media

My Son Joined Instagram

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?

To Snapchat Or Not To Snapchat, That Was His Question

My 11-year-old  son embarked on a mission to download Snapchat onto his iPod.

He began by sending my ex a text message asking her if he could sign up for Snapchat.  She then texted me to discuss the request.  Fortunately, we both agreed he had no good reason to sing up for the service.

Photo Credit: mobilyasam via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: mobilyasam via Compfight cc

Later in the evening he breathlessly explained how Snapchat allows you to take photos of yourself and edit them to make it appear as if a rainbow was shooting out of your mouth…or you could even do something along the lines of making you look something like Arnold Schwarzenegger.

A wave of relief swept over me.

Since he does not have a phone and the only contact number/emails for FaceTime are of family, I did not expect he wanted to use Snapchat for sexting or anything along those lines, but I am still hesitant to let him begin down the social media path.

I have heard him comment about the desire to have people see pictures or videos he has made and “like” them.  Another trap of social media…probably for discussion another day.

I did find an excellent guide for parents to learn more about social media concerns and which apps we should learn more about.  The article appeared on Common Sense Media – “9 Social Media Red Flags Parents Should Know About” – and I recommend you read it.

For now, I will search out an app my son can use to take silly photos without the requirement to sign up for social media.  If you have any suggestions, let me know.

What social media apps do your kids use and how did you decide to let them begin using them?