Is there any age when it is safe for kids to get on social media? If it was up to me, no child would ever have access to any of the various platforms until their brains are fully developed. I equate it to someone getting behind the wheel of a car … without brakes. There are no restrictions on social media, and that can be extremely dangerous.
I’m also realistic and realize parents do let their children have access to a number of social media platforms for numerous reasons.
What age should kids be allowed on social media?
On average, kids are handed their first smartphone at 10 years old. Within only six months, 50 percent of those 10-year-olds are on social media. It becomes a slippery slope — and fast.
If you are going to allow them on social media, it’s important for kids to understand the backend of it before they start engaging. Kids need to be aware that the platforms are designed to keep them online and that they track everything they are doing. They also should be aware that whatever they post is accessible years from now, and their postings can impact jobs, college and more.
Typically I find that many problems can be avoided if a child waits to go on social media until they are in their mid to late teens, or when they’re sophomores or juniors in high school. Middle school is probably the worst time, with the most issues occurring because developmental changes are all happening as well.
5 things to remember about kids being on social media
- People talk without filters online and can be very hurtful, this rings true especially in teens.
- Cyberbullying is typical. Expect within the first year of your child being on social media they will be a participant, observer or victim of cyberbullying.
- Kids respond well to guidance. We know from our DCA home program that with education mistakes online are reduced by more than 50 percent.
- Safe choices start with appropriate modeling. If parents are knee-deep in social media, kids will do the same. Parents can’t expect to sit on Facebook and then tell their kids they shouldn’t be on it.
- Remember THINK when it comes to posting on social media. Is it truthful? Is it helpful? Is it inspiring? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Only posts which tick all the “yes” boxes to these questions should be made.
We’re here to protect your kids from making mistakes online. Sign up today for our free webinar.