Helping Parents Understand Apps and Social Media


Understanding apps and social media these days isn't necessarily easy for many parents, but one group of moms is coming together to learn about technology to help keep their kids safe online.

"Kids think the online world is separate, that it's not real life and they can say mean things. That's not what we want to teach them. We want to teach them that online is real world too," said mom Mandy Majors.

Majors isn't a tech guru.

She's just a mom who one day found out her daughter had come across something inappropriate online.

"It threw me for a loop," she said. "It was like a lightbulb went off in my head and I realized kids are exposed to more than we realize."

So she created a Facebook group where moms can come together and chat about technology called Mom Talk.

"None of us have all the answers, but when we come together and share their information the work load gets a little lighter," Majors said.

Through research and practice, the group developed some tips to help parents understand apps and social medial.

"Our whole umbrella is about having open communication with your children," she said.

Starting at age 7 or younger, Majors suggests start setting rules with phones and tablets.

For example, don't let kids take screens into bathrooms or bedrooms.

Between ages 7 and 12, create a cell phone contract with your kids.

For example, don't allow kids to download apps or use social media without approval.

But if you haven't set any rules yet, that's OK.

Just talk to them.

"Set them down and say 'Hey will you teach me how to use this?' Because by showing you're interested in their world, they're all about it," Majors said. "Don't be afraid to get in there and learn it. My whole thing is if my kid is on it, I need to be on it."

Another important tip, many parents may not realize kids can privately message one another through apps like Instagram.

So make sure you look into reading those messages, as well as texts.

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