Can Social Media Improve Communication With Your Teen?

It can feel like social media is nothing but a wedge between you and your teenager, especially if your teen is acting out then avoiding you by staying glued to whatever device they are using to go on social media. Some parents have wondered if they can use social media to improve their communication with their teens and the answer is it depends how the parents use it.

Ways Parents Can Use Social Media With Their Teens

When looking for ways parents can use social media to communicate better with their teens, there are some basic do's and don't when it comes to interacting with your teen on social media.

  • Do set the example and keep things positive - Many teens use social media to keep up with friends, events, and to share their thoughts. However, some are not as experienced on what is appropriate to share. Set the tone for your teen so the communication can stay positive.
  • Don't try to embarrass teens - Some parents find it funny to share embarrassing stories or pictures concerning their teen on social media. These parents have forgotten how fragile the teenage ego can be. Also, there is no way to permanently remove something from the internet, as all it takes is a screen capture by one of your teen's social media acquaintances and the embarrassment will live on.
  • Do become educated on the various platforms - Each social media platform fulfills a different communication need, so parents need to learn the best ways to use the social media platforms their teens use. Not as many teens use Facebook but many are fans of Snapchat, Instagram, Tumblr, and group messaging apps like Whatsapp. Talk with your teen to learn which platforms are their preferred outlets.
  • Don't lecture on social media - At times, teens will post things you likely don't agree with on their social media. The public social media platform is not the time or place to discuss your feelings on the matter. However, by knowing what your teen is thinking on a certain topic can give you a better idea how to calmly approach the topic with them when you two are face-to-face.

Be Wary Of Social Media Pitfalls Troubled Teens Fall Into

Though there can be positives to using social media to keep in contact with your teen, there are some serious pitfalls. Not all teens understand the cultivate nature of social media, with most people only showing the best side of their lives. As most parents know that no life can be one big vacation packed with restaurant trips, they may not understand how teens can be sucked into believing the careful facade of social media.

But when teens compare their lives to their social media feeds, it can have a troubling effect on their mental health. Even if your teen manages to understand the superficiality of most social media posts, there is cyberbullying to deal with as well as online predators.

If your teen has fallen into dangerous territory that has extended to affect their lives outside of the virtual reality of social media, you may want to consider sending them to a residential treatment center like Liahona Academy. We help teens back on to the right track and give them the tools to face their lives once they are out of treatment. If you think our program might benefit your teen, contact us to speak with one of our placement advisors.

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