Social Media-lutions 2022

recording fireworks on a phone

This year, social media continues to be popular among teenagers. As 2022 approaches, consider making a New Year’s social media-lution–a resolution around social media use–with your teen to help them use social media in ways that are healthy and fun!

Media-lution for the teen who wants to join social media

According to the FTC, social media platforms require that children must be at least 13 years old in order to make an account. Many teens use some form of social media as a way to connect with others and share content. Help your teen do this in a way that benefits their health and wellbeing by:

  • Learn about the specific social media platform(s) that your teen wants to use by reading parent guides, watching video tutorials, and getting to know the apps yourself.
  • Set up account passwords with your teen, letting them know that you will have access to their accounts should they need your help, and that you will be checking in on their activity from time to time.
  • Create ground rules together about when to use social media. For example:
    • Limiting social media use to times outside of school.
    • Having dedicated screen-free (including social media) mealtime as a family.
    • Stopping social media use at least one hour before bed and having no devices in their bedroom overnight.
    • Setting up time tracking features on your teen’s phone or using tools to track the time they spend on social media, and have a designated amount of time for each app per day.
  • Use or create your own social media accounts in order to add and follow your teen to get a better understanding of the content they post and how they use the service.

Media-lution for the teen wanting to use social media in more mindful ways

Teens like to share content on social media, including their thoughts, feelings, pictures, videos, and creative work. While sharing can be a great outlet for teens to express themselves, it is important to help them understand the importance of thinking twice before posting and to remind them that what they share can live online forever (even if they delete it). Ask your teen to consider the following questions every time they post:

  • Why do you have this social media account?
  • What is your goal for sharing?
  • How do you feel about what you’ve shared? Does what you’ve shared represent how you want others to see you?
  • Are you comfortable with others seeing what you shared?

Media-lution for the teen who wants to be more conscious about what they consume on social media

Social media contains a wide range of content and information, including some that might be harmful to teens’ health and wellbeing. Ask your teen to consider the following questions every time they scroll on social media:

  • Why did you choose to follow this person/account?
  • How does their content make you feel? For example, do you feel your life is worse than other peoples’ lives? Like you’re missing out on exciting things? Anxious? Jealous?
  • Does this content empower you to be a better person? For example, does it make you love yourself more? Be a better friend? Contribute to society in a positive way?

Media-lution for the teen who wants to have more meaningful connections on social media

Social media is a place where teenagers connect with each other and build communities. Ask your teen to consider the following questions every time they connect with others through social media:

  • Why are you connecting with this person or joining this group/community/page?
  • How does this person or group make you feel? For example, do you feel emotionally supported? Socially connected? Good at interacting with others?
  • Does this person or group inspire you to be your best self? For example, are you the person you want to be when you interact with them? Do you engage with them thoughtfully and respectfully?

By Eleanor Dong, Kristelle Lavallee Collins, and Jill R. Kavanaugh