One of the hardest things as a social media specialist (and I can imagine as a parent) is keeping up with everything going on in the world on the internet. There are millions of apps out there and while many fall into obscurity, others rise up and seem to take over the world. For the longest time it was Instagram now it seems that TikTok has taken a stranglehold.
The absolute truth, and I will always be the first to admit it when people ask, is that I am never up-to-date on what’s going on when it comes to social media. Like everyone else, I pay close attention to what’s getting the most attention and use that as my focus. Many times I am asked about some obscure app or site and that’s when I’ll investigate it but there are only so many hours in a day.
A good chunk of the time, I’m learning stuff from the kids that I’m speaking to.
So what’s my advice for parents when it comes to keeping up with social media trends?
Well, if you’ve been following my work (reading this blog, reading my book, have heard me speak) then you know exactly what’s going to come flying out of my fingertips right now, say it with me:
TALK TO YOUR KIDS!
Ask them if they’ve seen any good videos online lately or any funny memes. Good change they’re going to open up an app you’ve never heard of and show you something new. Taking an interest as opposed to just going through their phones to see what apps their using is going to go a long way. Maybe you’ll discover something new that you’ll enjoy as well!
Or they’ll introduce you to an absolutely annoying earworm of a song that will randomly pop into your head and drive you insane. Yes, I’m thinking of a very specific TikTok song right now and I will not burden you with which song it is, I’ll let your kids curse you with it.
I’ve seen many a fun video of parents joining in on the fun of TikTok and other apps so show and interest and see what happens!
You also have the option of making sure you child’s phone is using your app store account or one linked to your email so that way you will be notified whenever an app is downloaded. This will keep you in the know for what your kids are using though it will still take some detective work to figure out what the app does. Again, a great opportunity for conversation.
It’s important to remember to establish rules for the use the of technology. We’ve moved into a world where we are all using more and more tech to get about our lives with distance learning and work-from-home and while things are slowly getting back to what we knew before, it’s obviously that technology is here to stay.
I suppose the moral of the story is communication. Having open and honest conversations with your kids will be a big help and let them know that it’s okay to come to you with problems. It’s important to remember to always listen with an open mind and try your best not to overreact or get angry when they come to you with a problem. We’re all human, we make mistakes! Let them know that it’s okay but also help them learn from it.
As always, my inbox is always open for questions and I will do my best to answer them as soon as possible! You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with those questions!
With the return of blog posts, I am committing to a once a week schedule right now as I ease back into the habit so you’ll have me to brighten your inbox every Monday for a while and we’ll see what the future brings!
Stay safe ya’ll!
Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com
You can purchase Josh’s books “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” and “You’re Doing It Wrong: A Mixtape Memoir” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.