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How much do you know about the apps KIK, WeChat and My LOL?
If you’re like most parents, the answer is “not much” (if anything!). You know that cell phones and social media are an important part of tween and teen culture — in fact, digital communication is the primary source of social connection for many kids today — but you don’t really understand what they do online. As an adult, you’re well aware of the potential risks of digital communication, but are unsure which apps and activities are safe.
Enter Jo Langford.
We last talked to Jo, a therapist, author and sex educator, about sex education in the 21st century. Since then, he’s started a podcast to help today’s parents understand the apps used by today’s kids: APPropriate.
Freaking out about your sons’ social media activity is never helpful. Jo encourages parents to stop, breathe and be aware.
“You don’t have to understand every single app out there,” Jo says. “There are dozens of them and they’re changing all the time; it’s just exhausting. What you want to do is get clear about what your values are and communicate that to your kids. Tell your kids what you’re OK with them doing, what kind of pictures you’re OK with them having, who you’re OK with them following and friending and how they behave when they do that.”
In this episode, Jen, Janet & Jo discuss:
- How to tame your fear regarding kids’ online activities
- Tweens’ favorite apps: Instagram & Tik Tok
- Teens’ favorite apps: SnapChat and Instagram
- Why kids may have more than one Instagram account (It’s not necessarily nefarious)
- Whether or not it’s OK to kids to have a private space online
- How you can connect with your child via Tik Tok and Instagram
- Why young kids (especially) should keep their social circles small
- How to establish behavioral expectations for social networking and online activities
- What to do if you find an app on your son’s phone that you don’t approve of (Hint: Don’t yell. Ask questions!)
- How to use parental controls
- How to help your kids be conscious of the content they are consuming online
- Red flag behaviors to watch for — and what to do if you notice them
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:
APPropriate — Jo’s podcast
BeHeroes.net — Jo’s online home
21st Century Sex Ed with Jo Langford — ON BOYS episode
The Pride Guide: The Guide to Sexual and Social Health for LGBTQ Youth, by Jo Langford
Racists are Recruiting. Watch your White Sons. — NYT op-ed by Joanna Schroeder (discussed at 25:50)
How to Raise a Boy with Michael C. Reichert — ON BOYS episode mentioned at 33:00
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