A friend and I were talking yesterday about how, when we were kids, we ‘posted’ about something or someone on the bathroom wall. Later, the custodian would come in and clean it off. Don’t act like you didn’t do this! If you think of today’s social media apps as virtual ‘bathroom walls’ for kids to write on- there are 2 things we have to continue to drill into their heads. One- what you post will NOT be cleaned off by a custodian. As a matter of fact, here’s an interesting fact I found in a great article written by Kim Garst: the US Library of Congress has archived every Tweet from Twitter – that’s 170 billion and counting- and is making them available to researchers, etc (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kim-garst/4-reasons-why-social-medi_b_3327957.html) Yikes!! The second thing to keep front and center with our kids is that the hurt from a post that spreads to hundreds (or even thousands) of people cannot compare to 10 or 20 people seeing something on a bathroom wall before it’s cleaned off.
And, don’t think that by checking your child’s Twitter or Facebook account, you are going to find everything. You may be surprised where our kids are hanging out. My parents used to have to meet the parents of a new friend before I could go hang out at her house ‘back in the day’. So, my question to you is, are you familiar with all of the places your kids are hanging out? I’ve attached a link below which gives you a great summary of the top 15 apps kids are spending their time on and what they are used for. You may be surprised. As the first generation of parents raising children who were born into the digital generation, we can’t afford to bury our heads in the sand and pretend our kids are always interacting and engaging with others in a safe manner.