The days of the old parenting rule, “do as I say, not as I do,” are officially behind us. Technology and social media have leveled the playing field, making us more visible than ever to our kids.
More than ever, it’s on us to model good behavior for our kids and practice what we preach—especially on social media.
Because it’s likely your kids are on social media, too (whether you know it or not), and they’ve probably already found you (they didn’t follow though, trust me). And if they aren’t, then their friends or someone else that they know have social media profiles, and they will be sure to pass along the things they see.
Here are six social media commandments to guide you:
1. Sense the eyes that you can’t see.
They could belong to your kids, their friends, their friends’ parents, or adults from their school. Not only are those people forming an impression of you, but they’re getting an idea of what your family life is like.
That said: you are always being watched. Be mindful of the fact that social media puts you on display to a wide audience (that you may or may not be aware of). It’s also important to recognize that the things you post may affect your loved ones.
2. Be authentic and true to yourself.
Don’t do it for the ‘gram. How you present yourself and document your life matters—especially to your children. If you don’t feel your life is glamorous enough for social media, then focus your energy on creating a life that you want to live and would take pride in sharing—heck, document the grind to creating that life if you’d like, but at all times be authentic.
3. Think twice before you write.
Not everything deserves a comment or response—especially if you’re considering posting on someone else’s page and you might want to express a negative opinion. Model good digital behavior and don’t be a hypocrite or an adult cyberbully.
4. Remember that a post can become a ghost.
You can delete a post, but it still has the power to haunt you. And if someone is determined enough, it will. The worst part is that it may not just haunt you, it could also do the same to your children. Mindful posting is key in the world of social media.
5. Keep the drama to yourself.
Facebook isn’t your therapist or your diary. That means a 5-paragraph post about the latest drama in your life probably isn’t necessary. Furthermore, if anything in your life is that deep or serious, it may be worth actually seeking some support or help. Self-care is the best care!
6. Don’t sneak post or share embarrassing content.
Unless your family has already agreed on what you can post about each other with no permission needed, don’t do this. No one genuinely enjoys being embarrassed or caught off guard. Don’t be that parent.
While these commandments are helpful, they’re just a start. Consider asking your kids what other commandments they think should be added to the list and applied to your social media practices.
This parenting insight was provided by Zift, a digital parenting app and educational resource for modern families.