3. No phones at the dinner table. Dinner time is a phone-free event in our house. This rule applies to everyone — even mom and dad.
4. No social media before you’re 16. Social media has a significant impact on self-esteem and mental health, particularly anxiety and depression. We equate “likes” to popularity, see unrealistic versions of others’ lives, and are often exposed to bullying or other peer pressures. It’s particularly impactful to young teens between 12 and 15 years old. So in our house, there’s a no-social-media-before-you’re-16 rule.
5. Monitor your teen’s accounts. Make it a requirement that you know about all social accounts. Regularly check them. Follow them on the platforms to monitor activity.
6. Know the platforms yourself. Even if you’re not an avid user, understand the platforms, explore them, read about them and know if they’re safe.
7. Know about other internet dangers. When we were teens, my mom was adamant that we not go to chat rooms. The same concept exists today in online forums, gamer chat rooms and YouTube.
8. Teach them social etiquette. Discourage any gossiping and bullying online. Encourage face-to-face communication with friends — engaging without phones out. Do this at home as well.
9. Model the behavior you want to see. I am still working on this one. I know exactly how addictive social media is, and I still find myself scrolling and checking constantly. Set guidelines for yourself when it comes to technology, and teach your teens healthy online habits.