You certainly didn't have social media at their age, but media didn't exactly exist. You knew this day was coming, but you still feel sweat on your palms. "Mom, can I get Snapchat?" (Or fill in any other terror-inducing social media application). You scramble. Is it time yet?

Despite what their friends tell them, they don't need to have social media. Social media is a privilege that should be evaluated based on your family's needs and convictions. However, before making the leap, there are a few things to keep in mind.

What is appropriate social media use?

Even though we expect that our kids know how to behave in real life, they may need a reminder that the expectations do not change when they sign online. Here are some general discussion points to go over with your child:

Not sure what's out there? Do your research!

If you're basing your judgement on only what you've heard about apps, you need to do more to evaluate the risks and benefits. Many applications can be used safely with good judgement, but some depend more on the user's judgement than others. Read up on the most popular applications, so you won't be surprised how they can be used (or abused.) The most common apps are Snapchat, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Some apps allow you to scale the accessibility based on preferences. If you've done your research, you can tailor it to your family's needs, and avoid visiting any sites that you already know will be out of the question.

Common Sense Media Reviews of popular apps:

Follow Up:

After you've allowed your kids to have social media accounts, the real work begins. Helping your child navigate the social media world in a way that is wise and honoring to God can be difficult in today's culture. There are a couple ways you can encourage your child to develop healthy online communication:

Growing up in the world today has a different set of rules than we did. As parents, we want to set our kids up to succeed, and to behave in a way that is glorifying to God. The best way we can do that is to be proactive in equipping our kids for the world that they will inevitably enter.‚Äč
For more information on kids and technology from a Biblical perspective, check out the numerous resources from Focus on the Family on the subject.