Preparing kids to be responsible and eventually independent online starts with a conversation, but sometimes conversations with tweens can be challenging.

Developmentally, tweens are starting to separate and individuate from their parents, so they may be reluctant to share their thoughts and feelings with you. Sometimes shifting the focus away from them will encourage conversation. News about social media can be a great opportunity to get your kids talking. 

Maybe your child would be interested in talking about the recent Supreme Court case involving Brandi Levy, a high school cheerleader who was suspended from her squad for something that she posted on Snapchat.

If your tween is primarily a concrete thinker, you may want to consider talking about Brandi’s case using the Thumbs Down skills as a guide.  Our Be the School Principal and Scavenger Hunt activities can also be a fun way to get the conversation started. 

If your tween is showing signs of being able to think more abstractly and consider the world outside of themselves, you might be able to engage them in a conversation with a bit more depth.  They may be open to talking about the implications Brandi’s case has for things like: the role of social media in the lives of students; whether, how, and by whom speech should be regulated on social media platforms; and whether and how unpopular or contentious opinions should be shared online.

Don’t just follow your kids on social media.  Lead them.