Setting Up Family Social Media Policy Rules

Setting Up Family Social Media Policy Rules

Creating a Family Social Media Policy: part 3

So, you believe now that you NEED to have a Family Social Media Policy and you have finished the Steps to ensure that your Family Social Media Policy is a success, now it’s time to actually making the Social Media Policy for your family!

Again, how you go about doing this should work for your own family dynamic.  Maybe you and your spouse hammer it out and announced the new regime or maybe a family meeting works best in your home. In any case there are quite a few things to think about:

What Defines Social Media to Your Family?  

While the industry professionals might debate over what exactly defines social media, for your family’s purposes it’s pretty safe to just say “anything you do online” whether it be Facebook, or MySpace, or YouTube, or Blogs, or Forums, or commenting, or posting pictures, or liking or digging or.. you get it? Even if a place is not “social” today, chances are that they are debating right now on whether they should install Facebook connect or whether social sharing buttons are good enough.  If it’s not “social” now, it very well could be next month. It might be wise to include mobile devices as well in this broad description since most phone applications are developed to hook into some social network. Cover your bases and declare all things online as being suspect.

What Is and Is Not Allowed Online?

After it is clear what means of communication the rules will apply to, then it’s a good time to break out the basics.  What is most important to you as a family might differ and your own rules of social media might be altered to fit your needs. There are basic web standards that should be explained, the webiquette, if you will.  Of course, that would imply that you have a decent understanding of what your kids are doing and how it all works. If you have yet to ever meander over to Facebook and still confuse YouTube with MTV, then you should get your feet wet before you tackle this or your kids are going to snow you.

Assuming that you also live online, it might could be easier to take a look at your own online activity and examine your own personal social media policy. Then you have already identified what is important to you and your own personal ethics. It’s much easier to teach something if you understand it yourself! Look online for ideas and articles and blog posts on web ethics and find your fit if needed. Once you have a clear understanding of how you want your kids to act online, then set to writing it down.  It often good to follow some tried and true golden standards so, here is where you really can wear your parent hat.

Break out the Ten Commandments of Social Media Parenting

“And the parents spoke all these words, saying: ‘I am the payer of the household wireless and cell phones and I will take it away…

ONE: ‘You shall have no other accounts on any one network beside the one account created with.

TWO: ‘You shall not make for yourself a “fake” identity –any pretended likeness of anything that is in a variation of yourself for the purpose to hide or trick others.

THREE: ‘You shall not curse or be profane when typing nor texting .

FOUR: ‘Remember the clothing and never post nor look at anything of anyone lacking clothes..

FIVE: ‘Honor your father and your mother and your teachers and your friends and your neighbors and your boss and your coworkers and don’t talk trash online .

SIX: ‘You shall not post murderous threats, nor bully, nor act in a disturbing fashion.

SEVEN: ‘You shall not enter unto any site that is pornographic in nature, nor is scandalous and without your parents express permission. .

EIGHT: ‘You shall not steal and join anything or buy anything online using any of our plastic or accounts.

NINE: ‘You shall not bear post insults nor spam nor be mean to fellow user profiles

TEN: ‘You shall not covet your neighbor’s code; you shall not covet your neighbor’s images, nor his website copy, nor his blog post, nor anything that is your neighbor’s least you invoke the copyright god’s wrath.

It would be wise for all, assuming you didn’t go for stone tablets, to print out the basic rules and post them by the computers in your household.  This probably should be the big ticket items that cannot be excused or ignored for any reasoning without the express permission of said parents.  Again, depending on your family, it’s always good to make it very clear at this point what consequence are in store for anyone tempted to break the Ten Commandments of your Family Social Media Policy. One must follow one of the Parenting Big Ten and follow through with ramifications due to bad choices on behalf of said children.

Now the internet is growing and changing all the time, so chances area that you will have to re-examine many of the issues  as time goes by. There is also a lot of gray areas online and sometimes behavior can be a matter of perspective. After you get past the basics, then it’s good to discuss and divine some of the deeper issues of social interactions online.

Some questions about social media interactions to discuss with your family:

  • What do individuals have the right to post about and what crosses the line?
  • Is it Ok for your son to post embarrassing pictures of his sister?
  • Or can he only post embarrassing pictures of himself?
  • Can people only tag themselves?
  • Can your sister tag pictures of your kids with their full names?
  • What about your neighbor?
  • What happens when you disagree online?
  • How should one handle a fight between friends on the wall?
  • Are we responsible for what other people post on our profiles?
  • Where is the line of privacy?
  • Is it ok to read another person’s emails?
  • What should one do if they do see someone “online” who they think needs help?
  • What does cyber bulling look like?

In almost all ways what happens online mimics the issues and concerns in real life. In truth, these conversations should be happening with our kids anyway and we need to make sure they are prepared for life online and off.

Take the opportunity of creating a social media policy to define how your family is represented online and you might be amazed at how our computers and the internet have the ability to bring people together, even if they live in the  same house.

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1 comment on “Setting Up Family Social Media Policy Rules

Ric Dragon

This may not be for everyone, but one rule we’ve imposed is that our son’s new laptop is to be used in family areas, and NOT in the bedroom. We didn’t want the computer to be a cause of non-social behavior- and it’s simple to lean over and see what he’s doing. Often, he even wants to share.

Here at a summer camp where I’m house-parenting, all the kids were nose-buried in their devices. We brought in a couple of board games, though, and for the past few nights, everyone has been playing. The difference in mood and interaction is palpable.

If we don’t want a truly lost generation (ours was, a bit- watching Gilligans Island)- we’ve got to manage our time in electronica.