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.