Should we warn them? What to tell your children about Social Media.

“Everything is a 9 days.” So is the ‘ole time’ Caribbean (Trini?) saying that even the most sensational story (aka Gossip) will be “top of mind” for a short time. I think its safe to use another ‘Caribbeanism’ to respond to that – THOSE DAYS DONE! Social media has not only changed the media cycle, it IS the media – so much so “media” is in its name. Guess what, just like the dessert cereals target kids during Saturday AM TV, they are finding innovative ways to target this up and coming audience where they live – on social media.

Think about it. If you have/ know a child over the age of 14, chances are they are more likely to have a cell phone and laptop than a bike and i GUARANTEE they have a Facebook account. Yep – moms and dad, even if you block it at home, they have one under a pseudonym (which they can’t spell either) and they access their FB at school, at the library or at that friend’s house where they go to “study”.

But they learn the dependence on the media from you and then tweak it to be more, well, you know…like cool! Not sure you’re to blame? Where did you CONFIRM Michael Jackson’s death? In the Caribbean, did you read the paper to hear about Beyonce’s concert in Trinidad or did you post a question on good old “FB” ? Where do you look at video clips about Rasta Phill from Synergy TV? Or, to scantily NOT address a story that proved the ills of “new media” where did you find out about infamous T&T beauty queen and fabulous fashion designer and overall damn nice person Anya Ayoung-Chee? The same internet sites you find cool, they find even more cool and develop new ones or find MUCH more effective ways of using them. Those kids GOOGLE EVERYTHING and, guess what?  Google, Facebook, Twitter,YouTube,  Stumbled Upon, Blogger and WordPress (my fav) have forever changed not only how we access information, but how and what we view as credible.

So?

Well – the “9 days” of information being discussed, that’s over. Forever. Want to find a media clip from 2004 – check out YouTube. To my shock and awe, complete footage of my Miss Universe question travesty of an answer exists, is searchable and has been viewed over 65,000 times by an audience…an audience that gives COMMENTS! Urgh! President Obama’s “furtive” alleged glance at a female behind lives to be forever searched and viewed on YouTube (136,000 times to date)! Pero, imaginate (but imagine!) this is something not so bad…what if there were nude pics or pics of Caribbean Prime Ministers with ex flames or old friends that may be criminals…or what about that time, in band camp…(kidding). Seriously, our generation is barely seeing the “tip” of the iceberg when it comes to the indelible impact of social media and its impact on society AND WHAT GETS RECORDED AS HISTORY…well, will e-based history be considered an accruate record of what was? – that’s another discussion.

SO, what do you tell your children? Should you warn them? HELLS YES! Here are 5 basic tips for Caribbean (and any) child under 7 when it comes to social media:

  1. Watch Your Content: You teach them to talk. You teach them manners. Make sure that is reflected in their social media comments and updates. Remind your children that anything they would not want you, their teacher or religious leader to know about them should probably NOT be on their FB page.
  2. Picture Perfect: If your grandfather, grandmother or sister Sylvia from the religious Convent up the street (ok, they are up the street in many Caribbean countries…maybe not in T&T in in JA…) would not like the picture or place it up on the school bulletin board, don’t put it up. They live forever – especially the bad ones.
    Hate Em? They Live on the Net Forever

    Hate Em? They Live on the Net Forever

    3. Friends Should be Friends: If you don’t know them, don’t add them as your friends.

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One Response to “Should we warn them? What to tell your children about Social Media.”

  1. Marc Says:

    It says 5 tips but I only see 3. They’re good ones though.

    But, in the first place, a child under 7 should NOT be on Facebook: “If you are under age 13, please do not attempt to register for Facebook”

    And that’s the first thing parents should teach children (any children, up to age 18) about the Internet, social media, cell phones, and all these other fancy computerised thingies that didn’t exist back in the day:

    ‘As a responsible parent I am going to learn about all these new technologies and I am going to monitor your usage and your activity. And if you do any stupidness I will find out, oh yes trust me child I WILL find out. And then it will be me and you…’

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