Children & Social Media Monitoring

How will you ensure that your child is using social media appropriately?

gavin grady socialgrady socail


My kids use social media. Mostly due to the fact that my wife and I are active is the social sphere. I am a contributor on social media, meaning, I generate content on a regular basis and publish for the world to see. My wife, in contrast, is a consumer, meaning, she rarely publishes content but rather absorbs content that others are creating. I distinguish between these two types of users because it’s important to note that your child will not only be publishing content for others to see, but they will also be viewing and absorbing content from those within their friend pool.
With all this activity on the various social sites, how do we as parents monitor and protect our children? At our house, we have put a few basic ground rules in place that apply to all social media activity.

Ground Rules:

  1. You cannot join any social site; only the parent in the house can activate your account.
    • That means, the parent has the password and can access the account at any time. This also means that you have the ability to configure your child’s account in a way that is pirate and only visible to “friends”.
  2. You cannot friend anyone that you don’t know personally.
  3. You cannot upload an image or video, post content or comment without approval from an adult in the house.
    • This requires work. Depending on how active you allow your children to be, this could consume your day.
  4. You can post no more that five images/videos in a day.
    • What could your children possibly be capturing that’s worth sharing in that many variations?
  5. Pertaining to images/videos, you cannot take or post a picture/video of anyone who is not fully clothed or is in the bathroom.
    • This one shouldn’t be a problem is you’re adhering to rule #3, but sometimes it’s nice to have redundancy.
  6. Use of social media is only permitted within the hours of 8am and 10pm.

Monitoring Your Children’s Activity:

As your children become active on the various social media sites, it’s important that you monitor their activity and conversations. It’s also important that you, as the parent, are familiar with the various social platforms; this doesn’t mean that you have to be a power user but at least know enough about the platform to understand the implications of using the social tool. I encourage you to create an account on all the social platforms that your children have access to.

Because there are so many different social sites to monitor, it might be helpful to leverage a social aggregation tool to pull all of your children’s conversations across the various social platforms into one location. In order to do this, you will need to have full access to their accounts (another reason why rule #1 is so important). It’s important for you to login with their accounts specifically because a lot of the social sites allow direct messaging that bypasses the public realm; without full access, you will only see the content and conversations that are public.
Here are a few social aggregators that you might consider (some are free, some are not):
  • HootSuite
  • Tweetdeck
  • Yoono
  • Socailite
  • TwineSocail
  • Postano
Regardless of how you monitor your children’s use of social media, the most important thing to remember is to monitor it.
These are the rules that we follow in our house. They are not foolproof and they may not work in your situation. You need to find what works for you and your kids. My hope is that some of these ideas will help you find the right approach to social media in your household.