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Social Media Privacy Tips for Teens

April 21, 2014

By Jessica Vician

Older teens (14-17) are more likely to connect with people they have never met. 64% of teens who use Twitter have public accounts. 82% of teens post their birth date. 71% post the name of the city or twon where they live. 71% of teens post their school name.

Social media continues to infiltrate our lives and there are constantly new, popular platforms for teens to use. It’s okay for your teen to be on social media, but you need to make sure he or she is engaging in appropriate behavior and protecting his or her privacy to the general public. Today I’m going to take you through privacy settings for the big three platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

It’s important to establish a policy for your teen on social media. There are two key things you can have your teen do with his or her social media accounts to both protect his or her privacy and ensure you’re seeing every one of your teen’s posts.

Make the account private.

Your teen’s Twitter and Instagram accounts can easily be made private. If the account is private, people will need to send your teen a request to have access to his or her posts or photos and the general public cannot see anything your teen shares.

On Twitter, click the settings icon and select “settings” in the drop-down menu. Then on the left side of the page, click “security and privacy.” Under the “privacy” section, select “protect my tweets.”

On Instagram, click the icon on the far right of the menu bar at the bottom of the app. Then click the “edit your profile” button near the top of the page. Scroll to the bottom of that page and select “posts are private.”

On Facebook, there are certain things you cannot make private, like your profile and cover photo. Make sure your teen selects respectful and appropriate photos for these features. From there, follow these directions with your teen to make the rest of his or her page private to the general public:

  • Once logged in, click the lock icon in the upper right corner of the page.
  • The lock icon will yield a drop-down menu. Click “see more settings.”
  • In this section, you can edit any of the settings to determine who can see posts or pictures your teen posts or is tagged in. You can also edit who can contact your teen through Facebook and who can search for his or her page. Go through each section together to determine who can see what on the page.

Ensure you have access to all posts.

Follow your teen on Twitter and Instagram so that you can see everything he or she posts. Friend your teen on Facebook and set frequent meetings with him or her to review the privacy settings on your teen’s page, making sure that you always have access to see each post.

By taking some time to go through the privacy settings on your teen’s social media platforms, you can ensure that he or she is both protected from the outside world and acting appropriately with friends.

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Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem

February 19, 2014

By Amelia Orozco

A mother and daughter chat happily on a park bench

Today’s equivalent of being ignored is not receiving as many “likes” or “re-tweets” as you may like. Unfortunately for our children, this is paramount in their world. They may feel pressured to conform to being like others, not just in their physical appearance, but also in their online persona.

Recently, I noticed my stepson, who is 12 years old and lives with his mother, using many derogatory terms in his Facebook posts. Graciously, I asked him to stop, to which he complied. This made me think about him and many other children like him, who may behave this way because of their low self-esteem. They are looking for ways to define who they are, to prove how tough they are, or just trying to fit in with the “cool” kids—all attempts to reinforce their self-esteem.

There are certain things that are important to your son or daughter that may seem trivial to you such as a funny video or even what seems to be a childish spat with their friends. One good way to reinforce his or her self-esteem is to listen. I mean, really listen to your child when he or she talks to you. Look directly at your child’s face when he or she is speaking and, if possible, sit down so that you are at the same eye level. This lets your child know he or she is really being heard and that his or her opinion does matter.

When your child feels strong enough to express his or her opinions to you, without the fear of being ridiculed, he or she will willingly share more with you. This is your opportunity to highlight some of his or her special skills or outstanding abilities. You can point out how he or she has such a unique way of looking at things, and how that is something really special. Draw out more conversations from your son or daughter, and you will see there are things he or she may be really good at that you may not have been aware of.

There is almost always a way to turn a seemingly negative situation into a positive learning experience where your son or daughter’s abilities can shine through, raising his or her self-esteem. For example, if your son is complaining because a teammate does not pass the ball during soccer practice, discuss how his frustration can turn into a teaching opportunity. Your son or daughter may be a good coach for a little league team because of their ability to see the big picture when it comes to the game.

Finally, teach your son or daughter to embrace differences, not only of their own, but also of those around them. If your daughter speaks more than one language, encourage her to become fluent. Let her know that because of these differences, she is unique and has much to contribute to society, whether it is face-to-face or online.

Not only will your son or daughter’s self-esteem rise to new levels as he or she learns more about him or herself, but the world will seem much less intimidating as your child is reminded of the important roles he or she plays in it.



Amelia Orozco is the senior editor and writer at the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo and a community and entertainment reporter for TeleGuía Chicago. A mother of three, Amelia also maintains an active role in her community and church by working with youth and promoting education and diversity through her writing and volunteer efforts.

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