This is an information guide I have been giving to parents when issues arise on Facebook. This is from the American School Counselors Association Aspects that I get ever so often and this has been one of the best guides I have ever had when it comes to explaining to parents with how to deal with cyber bullying.
Would you be surprised if I told you that teens have tightened their security settings on Facebook? Would you be even more surprised that many teens are leaving Facebook for other social media? The Huffington Post published an article on June 20, 2013, called "Where Teens Go Instead of Facebook (and Why You Should Too)". According to the author, Becky Worley, when adults started joining MySpace, teens left for Facebook. Now that parents have joined Facebook to monitor their teens, teens have started joining other social networking sites. Sites such is Instagram, Tumblr, Pheed, and Twitter are receiving new clients each and everyday.
When Stephanie Jensen did her presentation on relational aggression back in December in Birmingham, we discussed in great detail how sites such as Pinterest and Instagram were taking over as places where teens were being bullied. I have to admit I was in shock to see that Worley said that teens had tightened their security to where photos and posts had limited access and that the new security settings and the ability to report abuse was being taken advantage of.
When Jenson mentioned in December Instagram and Twitter were becoming popular new spots for cyber bullying I made the comment, that I felt like it had to do with security, and the ability for parents to see what was going on. Parents can view Twitter accounts, but many parents often cannot see the entire conversation, or even see the impact that the 140 characters may be having.
Regardless of the social media that teens are using, parents need to be actively involved in all facets of social media. Instagram has no filter and no privacy setting, so whatever photo is published, the whole world can see it. Twitter, the user can accept followers, and limit who can see the post, but at the end of the day, Tweets can be found and shared by anyone.
I am all about freedom of expression. With that said, if a child is the correct age, and parents have expressed the correct way to use social media and set appropriate boundaries and consequences, then at this age in time, it is the way of the future, as long as it is being used responsibly.
For more information on setting guidelines for social media, cell phones, and cyber bullying then I recommend Rosalind Wiseman's, Queenbees and Wannabes. It is an amazing book for teachers and parents that addresses how to establish rules and consequences and how to respond if they do break a rule or fall victim to cyber bullying.
My name is Kelli Muncher. I a wife, mother, and school counselor. My children keep me grounded and running everyday, and when I say children I mean my two girls plus the 300 or so I try to serve during the week.